In the mid-1980s, Dr. John M.J. Madey (“Madey”) (plaintiff) was a tenured research professor at Stanford University where he headed a well-respected free electron laser (“FEL”) research laboratory and owned several patents practiced by some of the lab’s equipment. Subsequently, Madey left Stanford for the physics department at Duke University (“Duke”) (defendant) where he was named director of a similarly-situated laser research lab. Madey also moved the equipment from the Stanford FEL lab to the Duke campus. After nearly a decade at Duke, Madey and the university had a falling out when Madey complained that Duke wanted to use the lab’s equipment for research areas outside the allowed scope of government funding. Duke subsequently removed Madey as lab director and Madey resigned in 1998. Duke continued to operate some of the equipment in the lab and Madey brought suit against Duke for patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The district court granted Duke’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the experimental use defense applied to the university’s use of Madey’s patented laser technology. Madey appealed.