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2012-01-10T00:00:00.000Z

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Wrong Robert Alexander?

Dr. Robert Alexander

Senior Scientist

Royal Children's Hospital

HQ Phone: +61 1300 766 439

Email: r***@***.au

Royal Children's Hospital

Flemington Road

Parkville, Victoria 3052

Australia

Company Description

The Royal Children's Hospital is a Melbourne institution that every year holds an appeal every Good Friday. This year on Good Friday (March 25th), the rink will be running a session from 2-4pm with proceeds going towards the Good Friday Appeal. more

Find other employees at this company (2,156)

Background Information

Employment History

MLK Celebration March and Rally Chair
King County

Performance Analyst
Renton City Hall

Student Police Officer
City of Renton

Laboratory Manager
Lofstrand Labs Limited

Personell Manager
NW Industrial Staffing

Senior Scientist
Royal Women's Hospital

Education

B.S.
Biology
University of Maryland

Web References (17 Total References)


Who owns the IP employees create :: Sparke Helmore

www.sparke.com.au [cached]

Who owns a patent developed during a person's employment?  This was the question facing the Australian Patent Office in The Royal Children's Hospital v Robert Alexander.

...
Dr Alexander was employed by the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) as a Senior Scientist in the Virology Laboratory. During the course of his employment, Dr Alexander conceived two inventions and applied to have the inventions patented in his name. RCH disputed Dr Alexander's entitlement to the patents because of the employer-employee relationship, which it claimed meant that it owned the invention, and applied to have the application proceed in RCH's name.
...
The key issue in this case was whether there is an implied term in Dr Alexander's employment contract that inventions developed by Dr Alexander in the course of his employment would belong to RCH.
...
Dr Alexander did not obtain external funding for his research and was not pursuing individual research interests independent of those of his employer, and Dr Alexander's research was related to the primary purpose of the hospital and benefitted the hospital's interests.
Although there was no duty of confidentiality, normally an indication there is not an implied duty to invent, the Delegate noted that in this case the hospital's public interest role was served by disclosing and sharing new methods and techniques by making them publicly available. Accordingly, it was held that the lack of a duty of confidentiality did not remove an implied duty to invent in this situation.
This was enough for the Delegate to distinguish this case from UWA v Gray; however, the key issues of whether Dr Alexander had a "duty to invent" and the inventions were created in the course of his employment, had to be determined to answer the question of who owned the inventions.
Duty to invent
The Delegate noted that although there was no pure research conducted at RCH, Dr Alexander's role involved improving the clinical testing procedures at the hospital. This was held to be enough to result in a "duty to invent", although the duty was limited to the agreed purpose by reference to his job requirement, which in this case, was to identify potential areas of improvement.
The Delegate held that the inventions would have been invented in the course of Dr Alexander's employment, and therefore belong to RCH, if they were:
a solution to a recognised problem which Dr Alexander would have been reasonably expected to resolve, or a result of pursuing a particular avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements.
Assessing the Recovery Medium Invention against these criteria, the Delegate held that it was an extension of the work commenced by researchers in the RCH and it was an avenue of research which Dr Alexander would be expected to investigate further in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements. Accordingly, it was held to have been invented in the course of Dr Alexander's employment and RCH was entitled to its ownership.
However, in the case of the Well Design Invention, the Delegate held that there was no clear motivation for Dr Alexander to pursue this avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying improvements, and therefore it was not invented in the course of his employment, because:


Who owns the IP employees create :: Sparke Helmore

sparke.com.au [cached]

Who owns a patent developed during a person's employment?  This was the question facing the Australian Patent Office in The Royal Children's Hospital v Robert Alexander.

...
Dr Alexander was employed by the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) as a Senior Scientist in the Virology Laboratory. During the course of his employment, Dr Alexander conceived two inventions and applied to have the inventions patented in his name. RCH disputed Dr Alexander's entitlement to the patents because of the employer-employee relationship, which it claimed meant that it owned the invention, and applied to have the application proceed in RCH's name.
...
The key issue in this case was whether there is an implied term in Dr Alexander's employment contract that inventions developed by Dr Alexander in the course of his employment would belong to RCH.
...
Dr Alexander did not obtain external funding for his research and was not pursuing individual research interests independent of those of his employer, and Dr Alexander's research was related to the primary purpose of the hospital and benefitted the hospital's interests.
Although there was no duty of confidentiality, normally an indication there is not an implied duty to invent, the Delegate noted that in this case the hospital's public interest role was served by disclosing and sharing new methods and techniques by making them publicly available. Accordingly, it was held that the lack of a duty of confidentiality did not remove an implied duty to invent in this situation.
This was enough for the Delegate to distinguish this case from UWA v Gray; however, the key issues of whether Dr Alexander had a "duty to invent" and the inventions were created in the course of his employment, had to be determined to answer the question of who owned the inventions.
Duty to invent
The Delegate noted that although there was no pure research conducted at RCH, Dr Alexander's role involved improving the clinical testing procedures at the hospital. This was held to be enough to result in a "duty to invent", although the duty was limited to the agreed purpose by reference to his job requirement, which in this case, was to identify potential areas of improvement.
The Delegate held that the inventions would have been invented in the course of Dr Alexander's employment, and therefore belong to RCH, if they were:
a solution to a recognised problem which Dr Alexander would have been reasonably expected to resolve, or a result of pursuing a particular avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements.
Assessing the Recovery Medium Invention against these criteria, the Delegate held that it was an extension of the work commenced by researchers in the RCH and it was an avenue of research which Dr Alexander would be expected to investigate further in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements. Accordingly, it was held to have been invented in the course of Dr Alexander's employment and RCH was entitled to its ownership.
However, in the case of the Well Design Invention, the Delegate held that there was no clear motivation for Dr Alexander to pursue this avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying improvements, and therefore it was not invented in the course of his employment, because:


Who owns a patent developed during ...

www.sparke.com [cached]

Who owns a patent developed during a person's employment?  This was the question facing the Australian Patent Office in The Royal Children's Hospital v Robert Alexander.

...
Dr Alexander was employed by the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) as a Senior Scientist in the Virology Laboratory. During the course of his employment, Dr Alexander conceived two inventions and applied to have the inventions patented in his name. RCH disputed Dr Alexander's entitlement to the patents because of the employer-employee relationship, which it claimed meant that it owned the invention, and applied to have the application proceed in RCH's name.
...
The key issue in this case was whether there is an implied term in Dr Alexander's employment contract that inventions developed by Dr Alexander in the course of his employment would belong to RCH.
...
Dr Alexander did not obtain external funding for his research and was not pursuing individual research interests independent of those of his employer, and Dr Alexander's research was related to the primary purpose of the hospital and benefitted the hospital's interests.
Although there was no duty of confidentiality, normally an indication there is not an implied duty to invent, the Delegate noted that in this case the hospital's public interest role was served by disclosing and sharing new methods and techniques by making them publicly available. Accordingly, it was held that the lack of a duty of confidentiality did not remove an implied duty to invent in this situation.
This was enough for the Delegate to distinguish this case from UWA v Gray; however, the key issues of whether Dr Alexander had a "duty to invent" and the inventions were created in the course of his employment, had to be determined to answer the question of who owned the inventions.
Duty to invent
The Delegate noted that although there was no pure research conducted at RCH, Dr Alexander's role involved improving the clinical testing procedures at the hospital. This was held to be enough to result in a "duty to invent", although the duty was limited to the agreed purpose by reference to his job requirement, which in this case, was to identify potential areas of improvement.
The Delegate held that the inventions would have been invented in the course of Dr Alexander's employment, and therefore belong to RCH, if they were:
a solution to a recognised problem which Dr Alexander would have been reasonably expected to resolve, or a result of pursuing a particular avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements.
Assessing the Recovery Medium Invention against these criteria, the Delegate held that it was an extension of the work commenced by researchers in the RCH and it was an avenue of research which Dr Alexander would be expected to investigate further in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements. Accordingly, it was held to have been invented in the course of Dr Alexander's employment and RCH was entitled to its ownership.
However, in the case of the Well Design Invention, the Delegate held that there was no clear motivation for Dr Alexander to pursue this avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying improvements, and therefore it was not invented in the course of his employment, because:


Although of limited value as an ...

www.fal-lawyers.com.au [cached]

Although of limited value as an authority (and may still be the subject of an appeal), the Australian Patent Office decision in The Royal Children's Hospital v Robert Alexander [2011] APO 94 offers one of the first examinations of the Gray decision.

The APO considered an application from RCH under sections 32 and 36 of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth), seeking a direction that two patent applications should proceed in the name of RCH, as opposed to that of its employee, Dr Alexander.
By way of brief background, Dr Alexander commenced employment with the Women's Children's Health Network in 1996, and his employment was transferred to RCH in 2004 when W&CH was split into two separate entities (one of which being RCH). Throughout, Dr Alexander was employed as a Senior Scientist, and at RCH was specifically in charge of the Virology Laboratory.
Dr Alexander accepted that the inventions claimed in the two disputed applications were conceived during the time he was employed by RCH, and RCH also accepted that Dr Alexander was the sole inventor of the applications.
The only issue which the parties could not agree on was whether Dr Alexander made those inventions in the course of his employment with RCH, where there was an express and/or implied condition of his contract that transferred the rights to the inventions to RCH.
In its decision, the APO considered whether Dr Alexander held a senior managerial position which might attract an additional "duty of fidelity" to forward the interests of his employer, even if the position itself did not specifically contain a "duty to invent". Despite being engaged as a Senior Scientist and holding the position of 'Head of Virology', it was held that in reality Dr Alexander's was not a senior role given the extensive reporting chain above him.
...
In contrast, Dr Alexander was not expected to (and did not) obtain external funding, and whilst he had some discretion in selecting his research, Dr Alexander's research was related to the primary purpose of the hospital and would directly benefit RCH.
...
However, the issue remained of whether Dr Alexander had a duty to invent and created his inventions in the course of his employment at RCH.
Dr Alexander sought to rely on Gray where the court held that if the employee was not engaged to use his inventive capacity at all or was only engaged to do so when specifically asked or for an agreed purpose, the employer would have no rights to the employee's invention, except where it resulted from a specific task requested by the employer or was to effect the agreed purpose.
...
The APO noted that Dr Alexander's job specification included a requirement to identify "potential areas for improvement in the diagnostic service", as well as a broad responsibility as Head of Virology to ensure that the diagnostic techniques used at the hospital were as effective as possible. From this, the APO found that prima facie, there was a duty to invent and an agreed purpose but this was limited to circumstances where there was a clear motivation which arose in the course of his employment:
"In that context, the specific job requirement to identify 'potential areas of improvement' seems to be limited to improvements which clearly have potential rather than encompassing original research where an invention might possibly result."
Two broad circumstances were set out in which Dr Alexander would be clearly motivated to identify an improvement in the course of his employment:
where there was a recognised problem which he would have reasonably be expected to resolve; and
where he was otherwise motivated to pursue a particular avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements.
Applying these circumstances to the two inventions concerned, the APO found that one was the product of "an avenue of research which Dr Alexander would be expected to investigate further in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements", and was therefore conceived in course of Dr Alexander's employment. However, the second invention related to a potential improvement to a device where the existing design was effective and a substantial improvement was neither likely or needed. As a result, there was no clear motivation for Dr Alexander to pursue this avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying improvements, and the invention was therefore not created during the course of his employment and belonged to Dr Alexander.
...
That said, the APO decision in RCH v Alexander does indicate that nothing is black and white, that factual circumstances will be taken into account, and that even the seemingly decisive ruling in Gray is itself not without a touch of grey.


Although of limited value as an ...

fal-lawyers.com.au [cached]

Although of limited value as an authority (and may still be the subject of an appeal), the Australian Patent Office decision in The Royal Children's Hospital v Robert Alexander [2011] APO 94 offers one of the first examinations of the Gray decision.

The APO considered an application from RCH under sections 32 and 36 of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth), seeking a direction that two patent applications should proceed in the name of RCH, as opposed to that of its employee, Dr Alexander.
By way of brief background, Dr Alexander commenced employment with the Women's Children's Health Network in 1996, and his employment was transferred to RCH in 2004 when W&CH was split into two separate entities (one of which being RCH). Throughout, Dr Alexander was employed as a Senior Scientist, and at RCH was specifically in charge of the Virology Laboratory.
Dr Alexander accepted that the inventions claimed in the two disputed applications were conceived during the time he was employed by RCH, and RCH also accepted that Dr Alexander was the sole inventor of the applications.
The only issue which the parties could not agree on was whether Dr Alexander made those inventions in the course of his employment with RCH, where there was an express and/or implied condition of his contract that transferred the rights to the inventions to RCH.
In its decision, the APO considered whether Dr Alexander held a senior managerial position which might attract an additional "duty of fidelity" to forward the interests of his employer, even if the position itself did not specifically contain a "duty to invent". Despite being engaged as a Senior Scientist and holding the position of 'Head of Virology', it was held that in reality Dr Alexander's was not a senior role given the extensive reporting chain above him.
...
In contrast, Dr Alexander was not expected to (and did not) obtain external funding, and whilst he had some discretion in selecting his research, Dr Alexander's research was related to the primary purpose of the hospital and would directly benefit RCH.
...
However, the issue remained of whether Dr Alexander had a duty to invent and created his inventions in the course of his employment at RCH.
Dr Alexander sought to rely on Gray where the court held that if the employee was not engaged to use his inventive capacity at all or was only engaged to do so when specifically asked or for an agreed purpose, the employer would have no rights to the employee's invention, except where it resulted from a specific task requested by the employer or was to effect the agreed purpose.
...
The APO noted that Dr Alexander's job specification included a requirement to identify "potential areas for improvement in the diagnostic service", as well as a broad responsibility as Head of Virology to ensure that the diagnostic techniques used at the hospital were as effective as possible. From this, the APO found that prima facie, there was a duty to invent and an agreed purpose but this was limited to circumstances where there was a clear motivation which arose in the course of his employment:
"In that context, the specific job requirement to identify 'potential areas of improvement' seems to be limited to improvements which clearly have potential rather than encompassing original research where an invention might possibly result."
Two broad circumstances were set out in which Dr Alexander would be clearly motivated to identify an improvement in the course of his employment:
where there was a recognised problem which he would have reasonably be expected to resolve; and
where he was otherwise motivated to pursue a particular avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements.
Applying these circumstances to the two inventions concerned, the APO found that one was the product of "an avenue of research which Dr Alexander would be expected to investigate further in the reasonable expectation of identifying potential improvements", and was therefore conceived in course of Dr Alexander's employment. However, the second invention related to a potential improvement to a device where the existing design was effective and a substantial improvement was neither likely or needed. As a result, there was no clear motivation for Dr Alexander to pursue this avenue of research in the reasonable expectation of identifying improvements, and the invention was therefore not created during the course of his employment and belonged to Dr Alexander.
...
That said, the APO decision in RCH v Alexander does indicate that nothing is black and white, that factual circumstances will be taken into account, and that even the seemingly decisive ruling in Gray is itself not without a touch of grey.

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