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Supreme Court will look at Stanford v. Roche today

The Supreme Court will consider a petition to accept Stanford University v. Roche Molecular Systems at today’s conference. MIT and university advocacy groups filed briefs in the case — concerning technology transfer from universities to private industry last spring.

Before considering the petition, the Court had waited to hear from the United States Solicitor General, who filed his brief in September. The Solicitor General strongly supported the side of MIT and Stanford, arguing that the lower court decision in favor of Roche “creates serious uncertainty” about the ownership of patents and “frustrates Congress’s efforts to foster scientific research and development.”

Roche filed a reply brief with the Court on October 12, saying the Government’s brief reformulated the question in a way “untethered to the facts.”

“There is no reason for this Court to review a limited decision on an unusual factual record in search of an issue that is not presented here and may never be presented at all. Indeed, the govenrment cannot identify even one other case that the ruling below would affect,” Roche said.

The Court typically selects only about one percent of petitions, but the chance for selection is higher when the Solicitor General asks them to accept a case.

John A. Hawkinson