Dr. Stephen Badylak of Purdue University and Dr. Alan Spievack of Harvard University were both researching extracellular matrices (ECM). Their research involved similar, but not identical processes. Purdue dismissed Dr. Badylak, and based on similarities between his work and the work of Dr. Alan Spievack, the Purdue Research Foundation and Cook Biotech, the company who had licensed some of Badylak's technology, sued Dr. Badylak and Dr. Spievack and accused them both of patent infringement.
This case study highlights the seemingly opposing interests of the public good and the profitability of research. In this case, the researchers took care to share their work without infringing upon one another's patents, but commercial interests provoked a lawsuit nonetheless. The researchers ultimately prevailed, but a great deal of money and valuable time was wasted in litigation, and Purdue University has lost a valuable researcher.
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