I had tweeted about this earlier, but I wanted to add a few thoughts about this ruling. Basically, the Supreme Court decided that under the Bayh-Dole act, universities could not universally force its faculty and researchers to cede all rights to any invention they may have developed or derived as a result of federally funded research. This is truly good news for us faculty as it protects our rights as creators under the context of federal patent law, that being “rights in an invention belong to an inventor.”
Universities have long struggled with the relationship between academic research and the commercialization of the resulting research product. The case of Gatorade and the University of Florida is perhaps the starting point for the typical approach many universities now have regarding patentable research. Generally, the approach is “we (the university) own everything, even if you create something outside of your research.” This ruling changes that, and will force universities to be more pragmatic with their policies. But it will also allow university faculty to have more control over their inventions and to be more entrepreneurial (to the benefit of all).