Student IP and the Oxford case

ouiIP Draughts has now had a chance to read the magnum opus that is the 75,000 word judgment in the English High Court case of of Oxford University Innovation Ltd v Oxford Nanoimaging Ltd [2022] EWHC 3200 (Pat).

The judgment includes interesting comments and decisions on several aspects of the relationship between a university (or its technology transfer company) and academic inventors. These are too numerous for a single blog article, so IP Draughts will tackle them in small pieces in the coming days and weeks, namely:

  1. Are students consumers: undergraduate and postgraduate? [short answer: usually yes for both types of student, but sometimes postgraduate students are not]
  2. What does acting fairly to a student consumer mean? [short answer: it is fair to have a well-thought out IP policy and practice, and fairness can be considered for the system as a whole, rather than just look at the individual complainant; Oxford’s latest policy and practice was fair]
  3. Ownership of academic inventions: what are the employee’s duties? [short answer: there is no “one size fits all”; many academics are not employed to invent, but this one was]
  4. University share of IP revenues and equity: is it fair? [short answer: when considering financial fairness, it is appropriate to consider the contributions of the university and supervisor, including facilities, resources, access to grants, etc; Oxford’s arrangements were fair, including the initial 50:50 split of shares between university and founders of a spin-out company]
  5. Dividing up the inventors’ share of revenues: is it fair? [short answer: there is a risk of unfairness if the professor throws his weight around to demand an excessive share of revenue, compared with the student, but this didn’t happen in the present case]

Watch this space for more detailed discussion of the above points in future articles.

1 Comment

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One response to “Student IP and the Oxford case

  1. Tamsin Miley

    I wait for more – with baited breath …

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