Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech Science

Three University of Wisconsin Stem Cell Patents Rejected 92

Posted by Zonk
from the i'm-so-torn dept.
eldavojohn writes "A non-profit alumni group from the University of Wisconsin (WARF) has suffered a preliminary ruling against three of their recent patents regarding stem cells. Given that these patents have been upheld in prior rulings, there is a lot of speculation that they will be upheld in a future court case. From the PhysOrg article: 'The patents, which cover virtually all stem cell research in the country, have brought in at least $3.2 million and could net much more money before they expire in 2015, the newspaper said. Companies wanting to study the cells must buy licenses costing $75,000 to $400,000. The newspaper said WARF recently started waiving the fees if the research is conducted at universities or by non-profit groups.' Should universities (or groups within universities) be allowed to hold patents and intellectual property while at the same time gaining donations and grants as an educational institution — or for that matter government funds?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Three University of Wisconsin Stem Cell Patents Rejected

Comments Filter:
  • Research Exemption? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jakosc (649857) * on Thursday April 05, 2007 @11:53AM (#18621815) Homepage
    It's not clear to me that they ever had a case for charging Universities or Non-profit groups, so it's odd that they mention that they have "started waiving the fees"

    IANAL, but doesn't the Patent Research Exemption specifically mean that research does *not* require a license. Even companies can work on research and clinical trials and they don't need a licence as long as they don't begin commercial manufacture of the product within the patent term?
    • by rhombic (140326) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:39PM (#18622555)

      IANAL, but doesn't the Patent Research Exemption specifically mean that research does *not* require a license. Even companies can work on research and clinical trials and they don't need a licence as long as they don't begin commercial manufacture of the product within the patent term?


      There is no such thing as non-profit research at a university today, at least not in the life sciences. The reasons that non-profits are licensing these things is because THEY want to patent their inventions, and sell them to industry. If they don't have a license for the original research they did, they won't be able to sell it in turn. When the federal government started to encourage universities to patent the results of research off of NIH and NSF grants, and charge licensing fees, the whole idea of non-profit basic research died a sad death. Uni's are just for-profit research entities today, teaching is nearly irrelevant (most faculty consider it a burden & waste of their time), the junior faculty don't get paid much, & the post-docs and grad students are essentially slave labor, but the Profs that bring in big grants & patents are paid as much if not more than an industry.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        I have a lot of the same concerns. And frankly since I paid for the research through my taxes I think I should own it through the agency of my government. The research results should belong to either the appropriate level of government or the university that employs the researcher, or some mix of the two. The exact mix could depend on where the money for constructing and maintaining the university, providing grants etc. came from. Hopefully those entities make the results available to others at no charge.
      • by evilRhino (638506)
        Research done at American universities is often a way to subsidize the research and development for pharm companies (most of them are European) by using American tax dollars. The American public is really sensitive about this cost. Whenever I try to mention how government funding for stem cell research is actually corporate wellfare to the richest, most profitable industry, people ususally retort that if it'll improve their quality of life in the long run, they don't care.
    • by OakLEE (91103)
      No, experimental use is only a defense if the alleged infringer's use was either for his amusement, to satisfy idle curiosity, or for strictly philosophical inquiry; and did not further the alleged infringer's legitimate business. Non-commercial research by a university has already been held to be a furtherance of legitimate business, and thus it is not covered by the defense. See Madey v. Duke. [harvard.edu]
  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by E IS mC(Square) (721736) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @11:56AM (#18621871) Journal
    "Should universities (or groups within universities) be allowed to hold patents and intellectual property while at the same time gaining donations and grants as an educational institution -- or for that matter government funds?"

    Why not? I would prefer a university to hold a pattern any day than any corporate - at least, they are letting other NPOs and universities use it without charging.

    In fact, give them more funding to do more research. Let them grab patterns before corporates get there first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mpapet (761907)
      I would prefer a university to hold a pattern any day than any corporate

      You are operating under the assumption that a university will act differently (better) than the average corporation.

      As this example points out, there is a direct link between patents and revenue generation for most universities. Why would a university miss an opportunity to generate revenue?
      • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by john82 (68332) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:57PM (#18622767)
        GP: I would prefer a university to hold a pattern any day than any corporate

        P: You are operating under the assumption that a university will act differently (better) than the average corporation.

        Both of you hold the assumption that a university is not a corporation. Whether or not it has such a status in the legal sense is immaterial. In every other respect, universities are corporations. There are for-profit and not-for-profit examples. Some are good "corporate" citizens, and others are not. They produce product(s) and attempt to generate value for their stakeholders. But to think of universities (as a class) to be a less corruptible entity than corporations is delusional.

        Corporations vs universities strikes me as a "distinction without a difference".
        • Agreed. I find it quaint to describe universities as being "non-profit". Sure, they don't distribute their profits to shareholders, but come on. Remind me how much they charge in tuition? Remind me how often it becomes ABSOLUTELY VITAL to get the latest edition of the calculus book? Remind me last year's budget for dorm renovation? Remind me the cost of goods at campus shops? Remind me the football ticket sales revenues? Remind me how much they get in exchange for letting marketers pollute the campu
          • by fishbowl (7759)
            >Remind me how much they charge in tuition?

            U. Wisc? About $3,000 per semester for max. load. It's on the high side for state institutions, but I'd hardly agree that this is a factor keeping people out of college who otherwise qualify.

    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Informative)

      by oni (41625) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:23PM (#18622303) Homepage
      I would prefer a university to hold a pattern any day than any corporate

      I think we will all agree on this point. The real issue is the university charging license fees. I actually work at a university and we recently had a big seminar on intellectual property. You can really tell that the administration is salivating at the thought of an extra revenue stream.

      And I really can't blame them - everybody is strapped for cash these days. I'm just concerned that it's a slippery slope. I would hate to see the day that universities pass up on research because they don't see the ability to make money from it. "oh sorry professor Jones, we aren't going to allow you to research that. We really need you to focus on things that we can license. Thanks."

      So the point of this seminar they made us attend was that everything we do belongs to the university (and I agree) and that we can't release anything without their permission. They want first stab at it so that they can decide if it's a money-maker. Now in the past, I have come up with a neat little algorithm or something and I've just posted it on usenet, or I've answered a technical question on usenet. Theoretically, I'm no longer allowed to do that. My expertise has value and theoretically the university has the right to charge for it.

      So the concern is that there is a chilling effect.

      Look at what has happened to college sports teams. They are no longer about having fun or enriching students' educations by giving them experience with a team dynamic. College sports teams are about making money for the university - which is kind of strange because every part of a university should be dedicated to education. Sports could be an important component, but it's like they have been spun off into something else.
      • by thridur (132896)
        If college sports were about making money, they'd only have two sports - football and men's basketball. Those are the only two that make money and end up supporting the costs of the other sports through with their revenue.

        I think there's definitely a chance for universities to mismanage or mishandle intellectual property, but I think those universities are the minority. Research funding is already slanted towards research that can be turned into something marketable some day. Is there anything wrong with th
        • Research funding is already slanted towards research that can be turned into something marketable some day. Is there anything wrong with that bias?

          In my opinion, absolutely not. What good is research to those not involved in academia if it provides no benifit to them? Public universities are there to serve the public and by providing something that can turn into something marketable they, in theory, are adding to the quality of life of those taxpayers funding the unviersity. One can argue all day long abo

          • by VE3MTM (635378)
            What good is research to those not involved in academia if it provides no benifit[sic] to them?

            How about a base for potential future research that may have practical applications?

            Applied or pure, research is research. Even if our collective short-sightedness doesn't let us see applications of pure research, we're still better off for having done it, because it may lead to future applied research that will have practical applications.
          • by oni (41625)
            What good is research to those not involved in academia if it provides no benifit to them?

            Are you really that narrow-minded?? First of all, everyone else in this thread has been talking about commercial viability (stuff you can sell) and now all of a sudden you use the word benefit - are you for real? Do you really hear "commercial viability" and morph that into "benefit" inside you brain?? Come on!

            All research and all knowledge benefits society as a whole. Just because you can't immediately sell it, th
            • Are you really that narrow-minded?? First of all, everyone else in this thread has been talking about commercial viability (stuff you can sell) and now all of a sudden you use the word benefit - are you for real? Do you really hear "commercial viability" and morph that into "benefit" inside you brain?? Come on!

              First of all, for a product to be commercially viable the product needs to provide a benefit (or at least a percieved benefit). You can argue all you want on that point, but it is a basic principle

      • I would hate to see the day that universities pass up on research because they don't see the ability to make money from it. "oh sorry professor Jones, we aren't going to allow you to research that. We really need you to focus on things that we can license. Thanks."

        That day is already here. Many professors are hired because of the revenue-generating potential of their research -- whether by licensing potential or the ability to get grants. The research is pre-screened by the administration by hiring profes

        • Grant money is the life blood of scientific research at major universities (at least in the US). The money for equipment, graduate student stipends/tuition, supporting research and facilites staff simply has to come from somewhere else since endowments and state funding (in the case of public universities) are not enough on their own. It's not uncommon today for less than a third of the total budget of a public university to come from state or local government sources. Any academic department that wants
      • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Informative)

        by sdjc (1038542) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @01:15PM (#18623015)
        I think there might have been a confusion here. In most cases, you are right, the university owns the intellectual property. That is, once it has become codified IP (i.e., embodied in a patent, copyright, etc.). The researchers (i.e., inventors) are all named on the patent and usually obtain a share of potential revenues once initial costs are cleared. However, part of academic freedom stipulates that the university researcher has the right to bring his findings in the public domain without seeking to protect it - unlike typical employers where the employee must disclose any findings and cannot usually 'give away' advice or product of their work away independantly. The cooling effect is usually do to misinterpretations and the perceived threat that university will force researchers to seek patents (something that is, to this date, against most universities' mission statements). I recommend Benkler's The Wealth of Networks [http] (freely available) and Krimsky's 'Science in the Private Interest' for a good analysis of the current situation.
        • by s4ck (895807)
          mod parent up for the love of god!
        • However, part of academic freedom stipulates that the university researcher has the right to bring his findings in the public domain without seeking to protect it - unlike typical employers where the employee must disclose any findings and cannot usually 'give away' advice or product of their work away independantly.

          This is not the case at the Univ. of Rhode Island. Anything you do on their campus, network, with their grad students, etc. they try to claim ownership of.

          • by sdjc (1038542)
            Please take a look at Rhode Island U's IP Policy manual [uri.edu]. Section 10.40.18 states: "The Board of Governors shall own and have all rights to any inventions, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights discovered, created, or developed by University personnel using University time, resources, facilities, or equipment, except as otherwise provided in this policy." This is to say that any IP -- once it is codified -- is owned by the university. The researcher can opt to not seek protection in the first place (simp
            • This is to say that any IP -- once it is codified -- is owned by the university.

              I wish I could agree with your interpretation, but I think your use of the word "codified" isn't something supported in the text. Trade secrets (I believe) and copyrights (I know) don't have to be specifically claimed on a piece of work in order to apply. They come along automatically with the creation of a qualifying piece of work. Similarly, something is an "invention" the moment it's created, regardless of the creator's

        • by reebmmm (939463)
          This is probably wrong in most cases.

          University of Wisconsin is actually one of the exceptions. UW does not take assignment of any inventions provided that there are not other intervening rights and obligations. For example, UW (and per the arrangement WARF) takes assignment of federally funded inventions because Bayh-Dole says it must.

          Because of this (and for other reasons), universities, including UW, have policies requiring invention disclosure, whether the professor will actually get to keep title or
      • These are serious concerns. A long time ago the Canadian government started "encouraging" university researchers to do more applied research instead of basic research. For example suddenly we had guys in the physics department looking at ways to improve industrial processes. That's not necessarily a bad thing but for basic research being left undone because of the relative ease of getting money for applied research. People go to school for a long time to become faculty members and if the choice they have is
    • by Xtravar (725372)
      Right, as long as the majority of licensing profits go back into research, then what's the problem here? Reward the universities that come up with useful things. Give them a goal to strive toward. If all they got was government money, they wouldn't have nearly as much ambition except that from modesty and the goodness of their hearts.
      • I agree. If the University provided a technology that was useful to you, why shouldn't you support further research in that area.

        Usually the licensing revenue is divided like this: The professor who discovered it gets 20-33%, the Department he's in get's 20-33%, and the university administration takes the rest to cover legal costs, and random university budget things (like maybe the arts).

        I know the professors who generate a lot of patents get the red carpet rolled out for them, but that is because they are
    • by Traa (158207)
      Wouldn't it be better if Universities where exempt from patents. This way they could take existing research (which was possibly patented) and continue working on this and refining it without the hassle and limitations of patents.

      I mean, it's all fine that the University of Wisconsin is offering their patented technology free of charge to other Universities, but they didn't have to. I'm guessing that most Universities can't afford the $75,000 to $400,000, or wouldn't want to waist their research funds on thi
  • Reasons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stooshie (993666) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @11:59AM (#18621911) Journal

    The reasons given were that the patents were:

    ... obvious to one of ordinary skill ...

    It seems to me that some business model patents and computer patents that were accepted should have been rejected for the same reasons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by theantipop (803016)
      The level of ordinary skill varies depending on the art in question. You cannot make a fair judgment between these fields as the level of skill in biotech research is much higher than your standard fair programmer or business manager. The education levels and average expertise are leagues apart.

      I apologize if you weren't trying to make this assumption, but it bears repeating regardless.
  • by Skjellifetti (561341) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:03PM (#18621971) Journal
    I'm not too interested in the ethics or legality of obtaining patents from research funded by grants from non-governmental funding sources. That should be a contract item between the granter and grantee. But research results funded by government sources should be open and non-patentable. I've paid for the research once through my taxes. I should not have to pay for it again. Software developed using government funds should be open sourced using a BSD style license so that anyone can include it in either closed source or open source apps.
    • by Cheapy (809643) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:10PM (#18622105)
      These patents bring money in to the university so they can continue to do research. This supports the research, and lets more research get done. The government doesn't give nearly enough money for all this research to happen without the help of money from patents.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fimbulvetr (598306)
        Are you saying then that you don't need the governments support? If you don't, then decline it.
        • by Cheapy (809643)
          No where did I say that; I said that if it was purely governmental support it wouldn't work, since there isn't enough money to go around. I was implying that we need both governmental money and money from patents.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Checkmait (1062974)

        I understand your point of view but I object to my tax dollars going to an organization which is collecting money through patent licenses. I have no problem with government-funded research or an increase in government funding for research, but if a research organization is going to patent their research (certainly not a very ethical practice [remember the genome patents]), then they lose their government funding and have to make their own money for research with their licensing.

        p>It's the same with larg

      • Those are the conditions under which I am willing to give you some of my hard earned money. If you don't like the conditions, you are free to decline government funding. I don't know what the current law is, but IIRC, it used to be that patents granted to scientists at US Nat'l Labs had to be put into the public domain for anyone to use.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hoplite3 (671379)
        Sure, they can make money this way, but what you're talking about is essentially a government granted monopoly on an idea used to subsidize research. This sort of monopoly has lots of hidden costs for the economy and an unknown benefit for the patent holder. Why not keep everything clear and open? Don't allow the patent. If they idea is really great, it should be easy for the research group that discovered it to get big grants in the future.

        This is the Adam Smith warning all over again. Government gran
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Or, my cynical, university-employed, side says, allows administrators to indulge their Edifice complexes with a pot of money lacking strings, while still demanding the science/engineering departments bring in more grant money so they can skim it for overhead. Stanford [time.com] is not the only university that's been using "overhead" to panel and decorate the administrators' offices.

        (disclaimer: TIME chosen because more authoritative publications are behind subscription firewalls; disclaimer 2: sour grapes due to
    • You make a good point, but one counterpoint - if the research is free for any non-commercial use, but charges fees for commercial entities, the fees can go to support research that government dollars no longer have to pay for (as long as the money go to items similar to the original research...).

      Not to start a GPL vs BSD license argument, but I do think there are multiple ways to ensure that the people get value for tax dollars (as opposed to corporations getting value for tax dollars that may not be pai
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tilzs (959354)
      The government already funds all sorts of research in the form of defense contracts to corporate bidders. Those corporations can patent their innovations. You aren't going to see open source DoD funded missile guidance systems up on sourceforge any time soon.
    • by Tucan (60206)
      Then you misunderstand what it is that you and I, as taxpayers, are paying for through government grants. We are paying for the immediate costs of the personnel, equipment, and overhead to carry out the work. In exchange for this support we get the benefit of the knowledge generated through the research and disseminated through peer-reviewed publications. In some specific cases, the support may include a stipulation that the government gets a piece of the intellectual property pie. However, in the vast
      • Licenses are paid to *use* the IP, they are not a purchase of the IP per se.

        Whatever. I paid for the research to develop the idea. I want a free license to use the IP in any way I see fit, including commercial development.
    • The money generated by WARF licensing is used to fund further research efforts. Faculty members do not have to patent their inventions through the WARF building, but it seems beneficial to do so. From the website: 20% of the gross goes back to the inventor, and 75% of the net (after WARF costs) go back to the inventor's research lab that produced the invention [www.warf.ws].

      The main reason why university research like this should be allowed to be licensed by the university itself, is that the public gains a direct b
    • by reebmmm (939463)
      That's what happened pre-Bayh-Dole (think before the 1980s).

      The problem? Very few government sponsored inventions were ever commercialized.

      The other big problem? Universities didn't like the idea of giving up all their rights to sign a small grant. Universities also don't like to do the same for small commercial grants.

      The really big problem? The people that know the most about the invention aren't the people in the granting government agency, but rather the inventor/inventor's institution. If you take
      • If you take away their [the universities] rights...

        I'm not taking away their rights. By accepting my taxes and not letting me use the IP I paid for, they have taken away my rights!
        • by fishbowl (7759)
          >By accepting my taxes

          Do you pay taxes in Wisconsin? I assume you are aware that federal money doesn't actually fund grants for stem cell research.
    • by Kuvagh (947832)
      Do you pay taxes in Wisconsin? I live in Madison, and I'm proud that the first human embryonic stem cell line was derived here in 1998. In 1995, the Dickey Amendment prohibited the use of federally appropriated funds for use in research in which human embryos are created or destroyed. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that Wisconsinites footed the bill for this. Perhaps license fees could be reduced or waived for organizations which operate in Wisconsin. Madison has a growing biotech district.
    • by CKW (409971)
      > I've paid for the research once through my taxes.

      And with the revenue *more* research will be done FOR YOU with LESS of your taxes.

      Who pays taxes? Mostly citizens through income tax. Who benefits from research? Everyone. What's everyone's share of "taxes" and "benefits"? Who knows exactly where the dividing line is between "average taxpayers" paying more money than benefit derived - vs big corporations paying tax money as compared to benefit they derive.

      I'm guessing that very very few individual t
  • "The newspaper said WARF recently started waiving the fees if the research is conducted at universities or by non-profit groups."
    -Just your friendly neighborhood Klingon doing his part to ensure fair use to non-profit groups the world over!
  • by markk (35828) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:03PM (#18621985)
    WARF is independent legally from U. Wisconsin, and it has held patents for at least 60 years. Warfarin (Coumadin) was originally patented by Warf long ago. A lot of vitamin technology (producing them, etc.) was also. They are basically the research trust fund of the University. That is, they get a piece of the patents from researchers at Un. of Wisconsin and then distribute the money as grants to UW researchers. I think virtually all big Universities have similar structures.

    Whether these patents were good is another thing, I'm kind of hoping they go on obviousness or previous technology, because if they go the only software patent that would even match them might have been RSA. If I had any trust in the patent system to be consistent I would be for this rejection (speaking as a Wisc graduate) and as a principle I guess I still am.
  • The patents, which cover virtually all stem cell research in the country
    What? Are they claiming they invented the test tube or the petri dish?
  • Why not? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jonny do good (1002498) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:15PM (#18622195) Journal

    Should universities (or groups within universities) be allowed to hold patents and intellectual property while at the same time gaining donations and grants as an educational institution -- or for that matter government funds?

    If non-profits (particularly universities) hold patents that are funded by donantions and grants they can, in theory, reduce their need for these sources of funds. The Bayh-Dole Act provided an avenue for this and actually encourages universities to license their technologies.

    I am currently a research assitant for the Technology Commercialization Lab (a group that works closely with the Office of Technology Commercialization which governs patent rights for research conducted at the university) at my university and this is part of what we are supposed to do. We try to help professors in either starting a new company based on their research in order to develop a commercial product or to license it to a third party. The university gets 33% of the proceeds, the department gets 33%, and the professor gets 33% of any licensing fees paid to the university. In a research orinted university these proceeds have the ability to add up to a lot of cash to help fund further research, new facilities, and pay salaries. At my university we haven't produced many "killer techs" that have turned into large sums of money, but it can happen. Stanford and MIT (along with others) have both recieved significant sums of money from licensing patents.

  • Otherwise, an individual or corporation not barred from receiving patents will appropriate the most valuable publicly funded results - or in this case, the public's DNA itself.

    These results took many years to evolve. Why shouldn't the fathers of this research get the credit they deserve?
  • Who pays? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hittite Creosote (535397) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:46PM (#18622635)
    "Should universities (or groups within universities) be allowed to hold patents and intellectual property while at the same time gaining donations and grants as an educational institution -- or for that matter government funds?"

    If the government isn't going to pay 100% of the cost of the research, yes. My last research project was funded at 80% of cost. Where do they expect the other 20% to come from if we can't profit from our research?

    • by SETIGuy (33768)

      If the government isn't going to pay 100% of the cost of the research, yes. My last research project was funded at 80% of cost. Where do they expect the other 20% to come from if we can't profit from our research?

      Consider yourself lucky. You've hit the gravy train. In Astronomy, you're lucky if you can cover 50% of a research project off of one grant. The typical annual NSF astronomy research grant is just barely enough to cover a grad student's salary plus overhead. A typical non-faculty research sc

  • by l3v1 (787564) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:51PM (#18622713)
    Should universities (or groups within universities) be allowed to hold patents

    Well, if anyone should, then better the universities than companies. Apart from that, I would _not_ ever allow _anyone_ to hold _any_ patent in _any_ way related to human health and cure. Yes, I know what that would mean to "health" and drug companies.
     
    • I would _not_ ever allow _anyone_ to hold _any_ patent in _any_ way related to human health and cure. Yes, I know what that would mean to "health" and drug companies.

      While I do understand the ethical side of your argument (the greedy health care companies), it would never work. If no patents could be held in health care, no companies would research new technologies, and healthcare would become stagnant. Who do you propose handles making new health care technolgies, or are you suggesting that we don't need

    • I would _not_ ever allow _anyone_ to hold _any_ patent in _any_ way related to human health and cure. Yes, I know what that would mean to "health" and drug companies.

      Drug Research is one of the few areas where I would support a strong patent regime. Your average drug today costs hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars to develop. There is simply no way for a company to recoup that money unless it gets exclusive rights to the manufacture and sale of that drug. In pharmaceutical discoveries were unpatentable, drug companies would have no incentive to invest in research. What's the point of spending a but load of cash to find the cure for cancer, when there a

  • I still think that if it were up to me I'd eliminate patents and copyrights altogether. Technology has made both a thing of the past.
  • The main plaintiff here is a front for a group of for-profit biotech companies in California that want to avoid patent fees and spend more of their contributed capital on hookers and blow.
  • I see no problem with a group getting a patent for a new discovery. However, it it was done with public money then the patent is owned by the people of the US and no fees should be charged for its use. This also means corporate research using the patent should be considered as public property.
    • by Kuvagh (947832)
      I've already posted to this effect in this thread just a moment ago... but in the interest of spreading information, please allow me to be redundant. Federal funding for this research was disallowed in 1995. Wisconsinites paid for this, not all Americans.
  • by Puls4r (724907) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @01:47PM (#18623517)
    Several years ago, a particular big 3 company *accidently* donated a patent regarding a certain coating to a university.

    That university then, 1 year later, turned around and sued the company that had donated the patent for violating it. I'm not kidding. To the order of $300,000 a month. I happen to be involved in the change getting rid of the old coating and moving to the new - just to get away from the litigation.

    Don't fool yourself. Universities are not about being institutions of higher learning. They are businesses, out to advertise and make money just like any other business. Their sports programs, their research programs, even the ranking in the grad and undergrad programs is ALL about attracting talent so they can attract more money.
  • ' Should universities (or groups within universities) be allowed to hold patents and intellectual property while at the same time gaining donations and grants as an educational institution -- or for that matter government funds?" Certainly. If that IP was developed under research funded by the university. There are a good many research universities that use their endowments to fund various sorts of patentable research. However, I would still deem that the patent has to be reasonable...things like software
  • G-d here. I know this will probably sound really provacative and really, I don't want it to, but I felt I should probably speak up and clarify something.

    I own your ass and all cells in it, so patents are right out. Besides, I wanted you to love and help each other and making inventive smart people trying to to do that pay even to do the research sounds, well, exceedingly mercenary even for you.

    Granted I rarely say anything, but we're getting to the point that you might wipe yourselves out tomorrow and I'd r

The one day you'd sell your soul for something, souls are a glut.

Working...