7 June 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision June 6, 2011 holding that federal contractors are not automatically entitled to patent rights in federally-funded inventions. The Court determined that the Bayh-Dole Act, which allows universities, nonprofits and small-business contractors to retain rights to government-funded intellectual property, does not confer title on contractors to these inventions. Instead, an inventor retains rights in an invention and can assign those rights to a third party. The Act serves to clarify this priority of rights.