The local landfill may be the place to find one professor's copy of the University's patent policy. According to depositions filed Friday in federal court, Dermatology Professor Emeritus Albert Kligman said he had never seen or read the policy, which the University claims gives it the rights to his invention -- the "miracle" acne drug Retin-A. He said if it had been delivered to his office he may have thrown it out. "That depends how big [the patent policies] were, how large they were," Kligman said in testimony given on October 18. "You know, if it was a big text, I'm not in the habit of spending hours of looking at documents of that kind unless there is an issue that obliges me to do that." Several hundred pages of documents, depositions and affidavits were the latest filing related to the University's suit against Kligman and pharmaceuticals giant Johnson and Johnson Baby Products in January 1990, which claims the University owns the drug's patent rights and a share of the royalties. Attorneys for Kligman and Johnson and Johnson have contended they have control of the patent rights because Kligman never signed the University patent policy, thus allowing him to sell the rights. The University has charged that he had no right to sell the rights to Ortho Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson in 1986, claiming under the 1966 patent policy Retin-A is property of the University. The depositions filed Friday indicate that Kligman was unaware of the University's patent policy until after he had begun negotiations with the pharmaceutical company. Johnson and Johnson informed him of the policy and subsequently, Kligman wrote a letter to the Project Research and Grants Office which formally explained his relationship with the pharmaceutical company to the University. Kligman added that he conceived the idea for the drug on his own time and that it was funded by profits he had earned through Ivy Research Laboratories and Ivy Clover Laboratories Corporation -- not University funds. He was president of both organizations, and they are independant of the University. In a June 12 pretrial hearing, Anthony Merritt, the University's executive director of Sponsored Programs, said that changes in the University's patent policy were noted in the Almanac and an inclusion in the Research Investigator's Handbook "which was sent to individual faculty members." But at the October 18 questioning, Kligman said he had never heard of the Almanac. "The Almanac. That is a University publication?" Kligman said. "I don't know that." In testimony, Merritt said he was "surprised" by Kligman's contention that he was exempt from the patent policy in a June 25, 1990 statement. "Kligman may not have been a detail-oriented type of person, but he never suggested to [the Research Administration Office] that he considered himself entirely exempt from University policy," Merritt said. Merritt added that in a April 18, 1977, letter from Kligman to Edward Stemmler, then dean of the Medical School, Kligman said he was not receiving Retin-A royalties. Merritt said that he has since learned that Kligman has received at least $190,920 in Retin-A royalties. It is unknown exactly how much Johnson and Johnson has made from the sale of Retin-A, but a 60 Minutes report which aired last year reported that Johnson and Johnson earned over $100 million before February 1990. Attornies from both parties could not be reached for comment over the weekend.Comments powered by Disqus
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