Law School Case Brief
Madey v. Duke Univ. - 307 F.3d 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2002)
Once a party moving for summary judgment has satisfied its initial burden, the opposing party must establish a genuine issue of material fact and cannot rest on mere allegations, but must present actual evidence. Issues of fact are genuine only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. A disputed fact is material to the outcome of the suit if a finding of that fact is necessary and relevant to the proceeding.
Plaintiff patent holder sued defendant university for patent infringement and state law violations. Plaintiff formerly operated a research lab for the university, and some of the lab equipment incorporated his patented devices. One piece of equipment belonged to a third party. Plaintiff claimed that the university improperly continued to use the equipment after he was removed as lab director. The district court dismissed some claims and granted summary judgment for the university on the remaining claims. The patent holder appealed.
Is the grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant proper?
The court held that summary judgment was proper with respect to the equipment owned by a third party absent evidence that the university used that equipment. However, the district court erred in granting summary judgment based on the experimental use defense. The patent holder was improperly required to establish as part of his initial claim that the university's use was not experimental, and the district court applied the defense too broadly.
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