Who Owns Creative Production in the Age of the Biomedical Complex? Stanford v. Roche and the Controversy Over the Ownership of Government-funded Inventions


  • Doogab Yi


Ownership of creative production in biomedical science and technology has emerged not merely as a legal and technical question but also as a matter of key public policy and ethical issues in the recent historical nexus of commercial biotechnology and academic capitalism. This article analyzes a controversy between Stanford University and the Roche Molecular Systems over the ownership of PCR-based HIV diagnostic patents. It pays a particular attention on the amicus curiae briefs submitted before the U.S. Supreme Court case, Stanford v. Roche, in order to shed light on the changing landscape of the controversy over the ownership of government-funded Inventions. The private industry, academic community, and government officials put forward their own interpretations of the Bayh-Dole Act as a way to find an optimal balance between economic innovation and the public interest in the age of the biomedical complex. The 2011 Supreme Court decision, 563 U.S. 776 (2011), which held that the Bayh-Dole Act did not affect an inventor's ownership right, reflects the need to reaffirm and clarify an inventor's ownership right in the highly risky, unpredictable, and collaborative biomedical enterprise.