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Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Xenon Pharmaceuticals

591 F.3d 876 (2010)

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Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Xenon Pharmaceuticals

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

591 F.3d 876 (2010)

Facts

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin (university) collaborated with Xenon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Xenon) (defendant) to develop a method of reducing concentrations of an enzyme associated with high cholesterol levels in the human body. Xenon and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (foundation) (plaintiff), the university’s patent-management entity, jointly patented the technology. The agreement between Xenon and the foundation gave Xenon an exclusive license to make, use, and sell products derived from the patented technology, and the foundation would receive a percentage of any product sales, royalties, or sublicense fees Xenon received. Xenon sublicensed the technology to Novartis Pharma AG (Novartis) but refused to pay the foundation a percentage of the sublicense fees. Xenon argued that it had the right to license its undivided interest in the joint patent application without being subject to the terms of its license agreement with the foundation. The foundation sued Xenon for, among other things, breach of the exclusive-license agreement. The district court granted summary judgment to the foundation on the breach-of-contract question, and Xenon appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sykes, J.)

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