Supreme Court defers IP case

Supreme Court defers IP case

The Supreme Court has elected to defer a decision on whether to take Stanford University v. Roche Molecular Systems, et al., the intellectual property case that Stanford, MIT, and scores of universities have asked the Court to hear.

The case is about whether the laws about ownership of federally-funded research trump specific contract language that a funded researcher at a university may have signed, and under what circumstances universities own title to federally-funded patents.

In an order issued on the last day of this year’s term, June 28, the Court invited the Solicitor General to file a brief on the case.

According to Patrick Dunkley, senior university counsel for Stanford University, “there is no time limit for the Solicitor General to provide their input.”

The Court reconvenes in October, so no actions on the case will be made before then.

After the Solicitor General files his or her brief, the Court will decide whether or not to take the case.

Stanford University filed a reply brief on June 5, 2010. That brief, as well as the other five filings in the case, is available at

— John A. Hawkinson