Duke University was disappointed to learn today that the U.S. Supreme Court denied Duke's petition for certiorari seeking review of the Federal Circuit's decision in the university's case with John Madey.
This case has attracted so much interest because it involves much more than a dispute between one university and one researcher. Its potential impact on the broader university research community is devastating, affecting the ability of academic researchers to pursue new knowledge and to educate students. The Federal Circuit's decision, which the Supreme Court declined to review, narrows substantially the "experimental use exception" as understood by Duke and other universities across the country. This long-standing common-law doctrine, which has enabled universities to pursue research of immeasurable value to society, lies at the heart of the case.
The case will now return to the federal district court in Greensboro for further litigation, and Duke looks forward to renewing its defense through the experimental use issue and other possible avenues.
The Supreme Court's denial of certiorari means that Duke and other universities must now confront the issue of what the Federal Circuit decision will mean for scientific research. Unless the Congress provides a legislative remedy, universities may need to alter their research practices to such an extent that basic scientific research cannot continue on a consistent course. This challenge, which some universities and national organizations have been exploring in a general way, now becomes more urgent.
Although Duke regrets that the Supreme Court declined this opportunity to clarify a legal question of such importance to the research community and society generally, it remains optimistic that its position in the case will eventually prevail.
A previous story about this case is available at: