We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

A US university's dream of reaping a billion-dollar windfall from a drug patent suffered a serious setback last week when its patent claim was ruled to be invalid.

Three years ago, the University of Rochester, New York, was granted a patent that it originally filed in 1992 on the discovery of a way to inhibit a gene (COX-2) that causes inflammation. The university then sued drug giants Pharmacia and Pfizer, which had been making COX-2 inhibitor drugs for years, arguing that the school was entitled to significant royalties.

Some university officials predicted that the patent would become the most valuable intellectual property ever held by a US university. But last week a federal judge dismissed the university's claim as "little more than a research plan". He said that although the patent outlines a process for finding COX-2 inhibitors, it fails to describe a specific invention.

Link to full Science news article

Reference: Science 299, 1638 (2003)