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McDonald Hopkins Intellectual Property Alert -- Who Is the Patent Owner of Federally Funded Inventions?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cleveland, OH -- On November 1, 2010, the United States Supreme Court decided to hear a patent ownership dispute between Stanford University and Roche. How the court decides the case could profoundly affect who owns the technological fruits of federally-supported research and development throughout the country.

The patents at issue cover methods for testing the efficacy of anti-HIV treatments. The court will decide whether Stanford University exclusively owns them or if an agreement signed in 1989 by a Stanford researcher gives Roche partial ownership.Stanford says that because it used federal grant money to develop the patented technology, the Bayh-Dole Act – which governs patents resulting from federally-supported research – makes it the one true owner. Roche says the Bayh-Dole Act does not matter because one of the Stanford co-inventors assigned his ownership share to Roche before Stanford elected ownership under the Bayh-Dole Act. According to Roche, the Bayh-Dole Act cannot force it to give up its share. The case is Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., No. 09-1159.

The specific issue the Supreme Court agreed to hear is "whether a federal contractor university's statutory right under the Bayh-Dole Act in inventions arising from federally funded research can be terminated unilaterally by an individual inventor through a separate agreement purporting to assign the inventor's rights to a third party."

Click below to read the McDonald Hopkins Intellectual Property Alert:

McDonald Hopkins Law Firm Alert; Who is the Patent Owner of Federally Funded Inventions?

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