Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Australian university sued in patent dispute

Two former professors of Victoria University of Technology in Australia are suing the university in part of an ongoing patent dispute over software.


Victoria University of Technology is being sued for $48 million in an intellectual property dispute, one of the biggest claims ever to be brought against a tertiary institution.

IT and software group iP3 was founded by two academics - Ken Wilson and Donald Feaver - who were working for VUT at the time.

The university took the men and their company to court when they entered into an agreement with an overseas company to develop and patent computer software programs.

VUT took out injunctions on the company on the basis that the university owned the intellectual property of the software. The Supreme Court of Victoria found in February last year that the university did not own the intellectual property of the software because it was invented outside the scope of the academics' employment there.

But the court also found the academics had a duty to inform the university of their research and that the university was entitled to a share of the profits.

In the United States, we have had a former Duke University professor (Madey) sue Duke University.


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