Thursday, 1 October 2009

The University of Western Australia has today sought leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia in a case involving the University's right to protect its investment in intellectual property developed by its staff.

UWA is seeking leave to appeal against the decision of the Full Bench of the Federal Court in UWA v Gray, handed down on 3 September this year.

The Full Bench dismissed an appeal by the University against a decision last year by the Hon Justice Robert French.

Throughout the legal action against a former senior academic employee, Dr Bruce Gray, the University claimed an account of profits received by Dr Gray arising from his assignment of patents developed by him and others while he was employed as a professor of the University.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson said that the University would seek leave to appeal against the Full Bench decision because it challenged the principles upon which universities operate when requiring employees to undertake research duties at universities while using public funds.

"This course of action is a matter of principle because the judgment has important ramifications for all university-initiated research.  It could stem the potential flow on benefits of intellectual property resulting from such research to the broader community," Professor Robson said.

"Research and innovation undertaken within universities, by their very nature, build on the work of those who have gone before," he said.  "We must ensure that this research - which will almost always be done for the benefit of the broader community - is recognised as university IP," Professor Robson said.

Professor Robson said no further comment would be made at this time.

Media references

Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8)  6488 5563  /  (+61 4) 32 637 716


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