When inventor Mark Holodniy first signed an agreement with Stanford University, its language stated he, the scientist "will assign" any future inventions to Stanford. But later Holodniy worked for Cetus, a small biotech company as a visiting scientist where he created new discoveries in their labs. While there he signed another contract to "hereby assign" future inventions not yet created at the time of the agreement - to the biotech company.

Although the scientist made Stanford aware of this matter, the university chose not to address this matter at the time. Now Stanford is suing Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., the acquiring corporation of Holodniy's work, for patent infringement.

Much of Stanford's argument is based on the 30-year-old Bayh-Dole Act that suggests research performed under this federally-funded program, is governed by federal law and supersedes even poorly written contracts. Which agreement wins will be more than a question of simply contract language and law.

Read More about this important case whose long-term implications could affect your intellectual property rights >>

Read the Supreme Court Transcripts and D. Swenson Amicus Briefs, as well as other briefs from both sides of this dispute.

Congress officially passed the America Invents Act on September 8, 2011. This much anticipated legislation represents sweeping changes made for the first time in over a half-century that will impact the future of intellectual property, university research and independent inventor rights. IP Advocate opposed many of its provisions. However, we are now focused on educating faculty and student researchers on its new policies and procedures so you can protect your intellectual property today. We have devoted a special section that chronicles the Road to Patent Reform that features expert commentary, news and resources to keep our community informed.

Read Patent Reform to learn about the American Invents Act

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