From time to time, I revisit territory. I wrote about this issue almost two years ago, now. I provide here a different angle that gets at the same point.
Here’s Sean O’Connor proposing that a flawed assumption in the U.S. Attorney General’s 1947 report on government patent practices led to the Stanford v Roche dispute and Supreme Court ruling (footnotes removed):
The Biddle Report not only framed the debates over government patent policy for both intramural and extramural R&D for decades to come, but it also introduced a crucial mistaken assumption that all government contractors were routinely securing patent assignments from their employees.
Almost all government work at the time involved for-profit contractors, primarily in the defense industry. It appears only a couple of handfuls of universities were involved in government contracting. The report’s assumption is reasonably accurate that all the government contractors that mattered in 1947 were securing patent assignments. Continue reading