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Supreme Court Rules Private Contracts Can Supersede University Control of IP

June 08, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the Bayh-Dole Act does not grant universities the unlimited right to patents resulting from federal research grants. In a 7-2 vote, the Court found that a professor could sign over the right to intellectual property (IP) that resulted from collaborative research with a private company. Stanford University argued that Bayh-Dole granted universities a right to IP that could not be signed away by the inventor. The ruling means that universities will have to clarify their claim to IP rights in their contracts with inventors, according to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Association of American Universities (AAU), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), the Association of Universities Technology Managers (AUTM) and the Council on Governmental Relations, which all supported Stanford, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which supported the ruling, co-signed a statement supporting the continued functioning of the Bayh-Dole system. Read the Chronicle article...

intellectual property, higher ed