The United States Supreme Court has decided in Stanford v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. No. 09-1159 (2011) that the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 (35 U.S.C. sections 200-212) does not automatically vest title to federally funded inventions in federal contractors.
In its opinion, issued on June 6, 2011, the Supreme Court affirmed that the Bayh-Dole Act does not supersede the long-standing principle that the rights to an invention belong to the inventor.
The decision re-emphasizes the importance of university employers to require all employees and consultants to execute comprehensive and enforceable invention assignment agreements in favor of the university employer, and to monitor and analyze for potential conflicts each agreement required to be signed by a university employee in connection with a third-party consulting or collaboration engagement.