Stanford University and several other research institutions have convinced the US Supreme Court to hear a case that could determine once and for all whether universities can claim ownership of faculty inventions paid for by government research dollars, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education's Goldie Blumenstyk. The case, Stanford v. Roche, began in 2005 when Stanford sued a company now owned by Roche for patent infringement. The university alleged that it owned the rights to a test used as part of an AIDS treatment because its development was partially financed by a federal grant and its inventor had assigned the rights to any product that might arise from it to the university, Blumenstyk says. But a federal appeals court ruled in 2009 that the inventor was also consulting for the Roche-owned firm Cetus, and had given the company ownership rights that superseded the university's, Blumenstyk adds. Now, the Supreme Court will hear the case, and research universities across the country hope that the decision will solidify their claims to inventions supported by federal grants, she says.
Holding Onto Their Inventions
Nov 02, 2010