Name: Sarah Johnson, PhD
Description: Sarah Johnson completed a research project while a PhD graduate student several years ago in which she engineered a unique peptibody, a combination of a protein and an antibody. She did a postdoc at another university followed by two years working at a large, established biotechnology firm.
Scenario: Sarah longs to start her own business that is more directly involved with clinical applications of proteins and antibodies. She feels the research she completed while getting her PhD could provide the foundation.
Question: Does the university still have the rights to this intellectual property?
Yes. By virtue of the Bayh-Dohl act, the university where she was a graduate student holds the rights to intellectual property developed at their institution even if the inventor leaves. However, if the university has no interest in exercising its right to the IP, Sarah may be able to negotiate with them to obtain that right. They may ask for some payment in return, however. Sarah may want to hire a lawyer to act on her behalf in this matter.
Bayh-Dole Regulations – An NIH resource on this law regarding intellectual property that arises from research funded by the federal government which says that the federal government gives control of such intellectual property to the university.
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