Research Dispute

Appeals court upholds DuPont in research dispute

A federal appeals court sided with DuPont today in a dispute over a scientific research discovery. The court said DuPont owns the commercial rights to a patented discovery of a gene. Researchers say the gene -- discovered in Columbus in 1992 -- could help increase the ratio between beneficial fatty acids and harmful saturated fats. The Sixth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the claim of researcher John Okuley, who helped identify the gene and challenged DuPont's claim to the patent for it. The molecular biologist was working for Washington State University when he helped discover the gene, but was using a borrowed laboratory at Ohio State University at the time. Washington State then had a research agreement with DuPont which assigned to the company the rights to research discoveries made during the collaboration. The appeals court said the agreement gave DuPont the commercial rights to the gene discovery.