The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 41.0°F | A Few Clouds and Breezy
Article Tools

Roche will file opposition brief

Biotech company Roche will file an opposition brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Stanford University v. Roche Molecular Systems, et al., the intellectual property case that Stanford and MIT have both asked the Court to hear, as have other 40 peer institutions.

The outcome of the case could determine who owns the patents to inventions that come out of federally-funded research. In 2005, Stanford sued Roche for patent infringement over technology to detect HIV levels in blood. Roche claims that it owns the patent because one of the researchers transferred the patent rights to a company that was eventually bought by Roche.

Stanford’s petition asks whether a university’s property rights “can be terminated unilaterally by an individual inventor through a separate agreement purporting to assign the inventor’s rights to a third party.”

When a party asks the Supreme Court to hear a case, four of the nine justices must vote in favor; fewer than 100 cases are selected from nearly 10,000 petitions. Frequently only the petitioner and third parties file briefs at this stage. A brief from the respondent may make the case look more appealing to the Court.

Roche will file its opposition brief on May 26, according to Adrian M. Pruetz, counsel for Roche.

Roche’s brief will be available on The Tech’s website.

Stanford’s brief was filed on March 22 of this year. Amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court, briefs, were filed in late April by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Association of American Universities, and MIT. WARF’s brief was joined by 10 other institutions, including the University of Michigan. AAU’s brief was joined by over 30 amici, including Harvard, Yale, CalTech and CMU.

Roche’s brief was originally due on April 26, but it obtained an extension from the Court. Copies of the filings to-date are available at http://tech.mit.edu/V130/N23/scotus/.

—John A. Hawkinson