On December 1, 2011 a University-wide email was sent out by VR Election Services on behalf of the University of California, San Diego. This email directed faculty to follow a link that required their signature on a Patent Amendment of the 1997 UC Patent Agreement. To drive the point home even further, the subject line of the email instructs faculty to "PLEASE SIGN NOW" when in fact, the signature deadline is not until February 29th, 2012.

However, despite assurances from the UCSD administration that the Amendment merely "clarifies the existing Acknowledgment or Agreement in light of ... court decisions" and makes no change to current "employee rights regarding intellectual property with which they may be associated", some faculty members are now questioning whether the university is being forthright. They are concerned that their rights are being impinged upon.

A series of blogs written by UCSD faculty address their concerns over mandatory signing requirements. After close scrutiny of the Amendment in question, faculty have found much to object to, and are now questioning the University of California’s motives. Their concerns are over what, in reality, are an attempt to unilaterally change patent policy without contract negotiations, that are aimed at nullifying rights upheld by the recent Supreme Court landmark decision in the case of Stanford vs. Roche.

Read Adam Burgasser’s piece, "To Sign or Not to Sign"

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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