AAUP Amicus Brief About the Stanford V. Roche Case

The US Supreme Court’s 2011 Stanford v. Roche decision is the single most important recent legal decision addressing faculty patent rights. We place here the full text of the AAUP’s successful brief (.pdf) submitted as part of that case. As our intellectual property report points out, “the Stanford v. Roche decision opens the door for faculties and their governing bodies to press for a return to the far stronger faculty inventor rights that led the development of new technology in the decades prior to the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act, and for more visionary shared governance systems around IP and invention management.  The Supreme Court’s ruling strongly bolsters the AAUP position that faculty should be free to control the disposition of their scholarship without interference by university IP administrators.”

In the wake of the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, universities began to assert patent ownership that had historically been reserved for faculty inventors themselves. They often argued that Bayh-Dole effectively mandated that they do so. Stanford v. Roche decisively invalidated those arguments, but, as some predicted, many universities took action, in effect, designed to nullify the Supreme Court decision. University IP policies thus began to take a further turn for the worse in the 2011-2012 academic year. This section of the web site as a whole is intended to urge reconsideration of current university IP policies and to assist efforts to organize activism to enshrine the Stanford v. Roche decision in revised campus handbooks and collective bargaining agreements.