Universities that Litigate Patents

Rooksby, Jacob H., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Pusser, Brian, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

American research universities frequently obtain and license patents to their faculty members' inventions. While university licensing is carefully tracked and thoroughly studied, little is known about university decisions to assertively litigate their patents through filing patent infringement lawsuits in federal court. Which universities engage in this activity? How common is it? Do these universities have policies to facilitate their involvement in patent infringement litigation? Are they likely to litigate again? What considerations do these universities deem important in their decisions to bring suit? This mixed-methods study answers these questions by providing a legal history of university-initiated patent infringement litigation and by surveying and interviewing key decision makers at universities that litigate patents. Findings contribute to scholarly understanding of university involvement in technology transfer, complex institutional decision-making concerning efforts to protect and enforce valuable intellectual property, and academic capitalism theory. They also bear significant implications for future university pursuits of mission and money through patents amidst an unprecedented era of financial pressures transforming universities into market-conscious knowledge enterprises. The study concludes by drawing on findings to provide informed policy recommendations to further university enforcement of patents in the public interest. The Center for the Study of Higher Education Curry School of Education University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia APPROVAL OF THE DISSERTATION This dissertation, "Universities That Litigate Patents," has been approved by the Graduate Faculty of the Curry School of Education in partial fulfillment of the of Philosophy. David W. Breneman, Madelyn Wessel, J.D. Date DEDICATION To S.T.R.: From Doha to Duluth, you believed in new directions.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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