University of Western Australia v. Gray: An Academic Duty to Commercialise Research?
16 Journal of Law and Medicine 419, 2008
7 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2013 Last revised: 1 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2008
In an era of tightening university budgets and pressure to commercialise academic knowledge, many higher education institutions see the exploitation of new inventions and discoveries, through the use of patents, as an additional revenue stream. To that end, many such organisations have in place policies and by-laws which regulate “ownership” and disclosure of inventions created by employees. This can be seen as a continuation of an ongoing process of shifting universities from institutes of “pure research” to commercial operations, seeking to maximise ﬁnancial gains from the efforts of their researchers. However, new opportunities present new risks. One of the last Federal Court decisions by the High Court of Australia’s new Chief Justice, Justice French, in University of Western Australia v Gray  FCA 498 explores some of the challenges which Australian university administrators and policy developers will need to overcome if an appropriate balance between private interests and public good is to be maintained in this context.
Keywords: University of WA v Gray, patents, inventors, universities, microspheres, Australia, employees
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