If a biology researcher publishes a paper indicating that a certain molecule can be used to treat a certain condition, can another person then patent that molecule or would the right to patent that molecule be exclusively the original researcher's? If that researcher does not patent that molecule, would it then become freely usable by anyone? (It seems to me like the idea to treat this condition in this way would then be public knowledge.)
Once thwe molecule and its use have been published, that becomes prior art, and no other person can patent this. Whether the original researcher can seek a patent, or is precluded by his or her own prior disclosure, I think depends on the exact facts. I know that in some cases, disclosing an invention to the public waives any claim to a patent.