U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Inventor Ownership Dispute

November 2nd, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Inventor Ownership Dispute
Daniel Sineway

Summary: On November 1, 2010, the US Supreme Court indicated that it would hear a dispute between Stanford University and Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. over whether individual inventors retain intellectual property rights to federally funded inventions. Traditionally, individual inventors retain rights to their inventions until assigned to a company or other entity. Under the Bayh-Dole Act, however, institutions such as universities, non-profit organizations, and small business contractors are arguably able to retain rights to inventions conceived and reduced to practice by their employees through federally funded research. The Supreme Court will hear the case to determine the bounds of the Bayh-Dole Act, and specifically analyze whether an inventor may lose rights to his or her invention simply because his or her research received federal funding.

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