Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Inventorship dispute sparks lawsuit involving the University of Pittsburgh

In another case of academic patent intrigue, Karen Norris, a University of Pittsburgh immunology professor, and Heather Kling, a postdoctoral student in her lab, have filed a DJ lawsuit in federal court against the University of Pittsburgh and Jay Kolls and Mingquan Zheng.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette states:

In September 2011, Dr. Norris accused Dr. Kolls of inaccurately claiming in two federal grant applications that he had collaborated with her on monkey research involving pneumocystis and of wrongly citing the research in the patent application he had filed with Dr. Zheng.

(...)[ Pitt medical school dean Arthur Levine did an initial investigation ]

In July, a Pitt faculty committee that followed up on Dr. Levine's original probe found that Dr. Kolls was not guilty of research misconduct but was responsible for a lesser violation, research impropriety.

[as to issues in determining inventorship]

[the committee noted] it was difficult to determine who first developed the idea of using a portion of the pneumocystis fungus known as "mini-kexin" as a potential vaccine or antibody treatment target.


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