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WARF and Intel Settle Patent Suit Over Core 2 Duo 79

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the with-a-bat'leth dept.
reebmmm writes "The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and Intel have settled their patent suit over technology developed by Gurindar Sohi, a computer science professor at the University of Wisconsin — Madison. Professor Sohi developed technology that was ultimately patented by WARF using money he received from Intel. Last month, Judge Barbara Crabb found that the funding agreement was ambiguous, but that e-mails revealed that the money was an unrestricted gift and carried with it no obligation to license or assign any inventions to Intel. Trial was scheduled to begin today. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed."
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WARF and Intel Settle Patent Suit Over Core 2 Duo

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  • by genmax (990012) on Monday October 05, 2009 @06:32PM (#29651043)

    Or perhaps,

    Intel: The work you do has had an immense impact on the field, and helped us a lot. Thank you, and here's some money so that you keep working on this.
    Sohi: Thanks man!
    (After research)
    Intel: Hey, we own everything you make!

    Or even,

    WARF: Here's $$$$$$ so that you can set up your lab, hire graduate students, buy equipment. As a condition for the money, we would like to explicitly state that we should own patent rights to your inventions.
    Sohi: Sounds good.
    Intel: Here's $$ -- consider it a gift.
    Sohi: Thanks man. .. sohi invents something ..
    WARF: Nice job, we'll patent that now.
    Intel: Hey, no fair, we paid some money too, we own the rights.
    Judge: (to intel) No you don't!

    ---

    I'm a graduate student, and I can tell you that it is quite common for companies to fund faculty members via gifts --- that come with no strings attached. Why, you ask ? Altruism -- not really. It is often in a company's interest to have a good relationship with a faculty member / university lab. It means that the faculty member is more likely to work at solving problems that the company would like solved. It is often understood that if the problem is solved, the solution may be in the public domain or that they may have to license it from the university --- but that's better than not having a solution at all. The money that the company pays is often peanuts compared to what they'd have to spend to build a similar research environment themselves.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2009 @06:52PM (#29651279)

    Hah, UW is one of the most well-funded universities in the WORLD! This is a drop in the bucket.

    "In 2007, UW had research expenditures of $913 million, making it the third largest in science and engineering and the largest in non-science expenditures in the US."

  • How WARF Works. (Score:5, Informative)

    by bezenek (958723) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:09AM (#29654183) Journal
    I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin for 6 years, during which I was able to work with Guri Sohi as his teaching assistant, in addition to having many stimulating technical discussions.

    WARF (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, warf.org) helps faculty and students patent their ideas and protect the patents. Remember, a patent is only as good as the lawyers who are willing to go to court to defend it--as this WARF v. Intel situation has shown.

    WARF was established in 1925, and helped the University of Wisconsin become one of the first academic institutions to take advantage of the patent system. The patent for including vitamin D in milk was the first big money winner for WARF and the university.

    The system is driven by the inventor. If a faculty member or student has an idea they want to patent, WARF covers the expenses, provides help with prior-art, etc. efforts, and pledges to defend the patent. For this, WARF gets 80% of the patent revenues, which it puts back into research funding for the university. The inventor(s) receive 20% of the revenues. From what I have heard, this is a larger percentage than that given to the inventor at many other institutions.

    -Todd
  • by stiggle (649614) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:39AM (#29654927)

    It wasn't illegal - it was just bypassing the university administration so they didn't syphon off a percentage of the money. Intel wanted their 'gifts' to go 100% to Sohi.

"The Street finds its own uses for technology." -- William Gibson

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