The University Academic as a Fiduciary: Where to Following University of Western Australia v. Gray?

Journal of Law, Information and Science, Vol. 19, pp. 22-41, 2008

21 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2011

See all articles by Rohan Price

Rohan Price

University of Tasmania - Faculty of Law; Dalian Maritime University Law School

Lynden Griggs

University of Tasmania

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

The recent Full Federal Court decision in University of Western Australia v Gray ((2009) 179 FCR 346) is the most recent episode in an emerging saga concerning the ownership of an invention made by an academic member of staff whilst in the employment of a higher education institution. With only two Australian decisions exploring this topic (the other being Victoria University of Technology v Wilson (2004) 60 IPR 392) having divergent results, the purpose of this article is to examine these two cases in the historical context of an employee's fiduciary obligations. The answer as to when an employee owes fiduciary duties sends a very clear message about the nature of the employer/employee relationship, and fundamentally, the resolution of the cases sends a message to both career academics and university administrators as to how their affairs need to be structured so as to maximise the personal interests of each. Moreover, the authors consider that the decision in University of Western Australia v Gray has the potential to reconfigure the employment relationship in Australia, most particularly in relation to intellectual property ownership, but more generally too.

Keywords: fiduciary duties, employment law, invention

JEL Classification: O34, K31

Suggested Citation

Price, Rohan B.E. and Griggs, Lynden, The University Academic as a Fiduciary: Where to Following University of Western Australia v. Gray? (2008). Journal of Law, Information and Science, Vol. 19, pp. 22-41, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1975489

Rohan B.E. Price

University of Tasmania - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 89
Hobart, TAS 7001
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.utas.edu.au/law/people/law-people-profiles/Rohan-Price

Dalian Maritime University Law School ( email )

1 Linghai Road
Dalian, 116026
China

Lynden Griggs (Contact Author)

University of Tasmania ( email )

Private Bag 89
Hobart
Tasmania, 7001
Australia

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
51
Abstract Views
433
rank
384,780
PlumX Metrics