The University of Hawaii's outdated patent and copyright policies have prevented it from reaping millions in royalties and licensing fees for technologies developed in its labs, Whitney reports. The university stood to profit from two discoveries: the development in its labs of a new mouse-cloning technology, and the creation of a caffeine-free coffee plant. The two leading researchers on the mouse-cloning project, who had won outside fellowships to work on the project, were not asked to make a written assignment of patent rights to UH. After UH tried to claim the rights to the mouse-cloning technology, one of the researchers sued the university. Later, UH announced the development of caffeine-free coffee plants before such plants existed (researchers had to wait until the cloned plants bore fruit). The Wall Street Journal reported that the plants would be available to commercial growers by 2003. In the meantime, ProBio, the company licensing the technology from UH, couldn't make its payments.
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