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The High Court today dismissed an application for special leave to appeal by the University of Western Australia (UWA) in a matter against former UWA academic Dr Bruce Gray, relating to ownership of patent rights covering the production and use of microspheres for targeted treatment of human tumours.

At the heart of matter was the issue of ownership of patent rights by employees not bound by a specific duty to invent within their employment contracts. The facts of the case were not contested and the High Court justices hearing the application considered that there was no error in the judgement at first instance by Justice French (who is now the Chief Justice of the High Court) and whose decision was affirmed by the Full Federal Court.1

This decision may have consequences not just for other universities but also for companies and organisations involved in research and development where the employment or research contracts in place do not specifically outline that a researcher is employed to invent, rather than simply to conduct research.


1. [2009] FCAFC 116 (3 September 2009).