In the case of Peter Elkin vs. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Federal District Court Minnesota, the jury returned a favorable verdict today for Mayo Clinic. Prior to the jury returning its verdict, the Honorable Judge David S. Doty ruled that Mayo Clinic was the sole owner of software developed by Dr. Elkin during his 12 year tenure at Mayo. In addition, the jury determined that Dr. Elkin breached Mayo’s employment policies by taking Mayo’s software without authority, that he intentionally interfered with Mayo’s business relationship with Cerner Corporation and that Dr. Elkin willfully and maliciously misappropriated Mayo’s trade secrets. The jury also determined that Dr. Elkin breached his fiduciary duty to Mayo Clinic.
The jury determined, too, that Dr. Elkin is due royalties accruing under Mayo Clinic’s royalty sharing policy, for the intellectual property he contributed to the software. The jury limited the amount of royalties owed Dr. Elkin to those due and owing prior to Mayo’s filing of the lawsuit against Dr. Elkin. “We are very pleased with both the Court and Jury decisions in this matter,” commented Steve Van Nurden, Chair, Mayo Clinic Office of Intellectual Property. “Mayo Clinic has many gifted and talented employees who disclose invention ideas to Mayo everyday. While all intellectual property created by employees during their employment at Mayo Clinic is the property of Mayo, our royalty sharing policy rewards employees for their ideas by paying them a portion of net income generated as a result of the successful commercialization of their technology.”
The jury’s determination that Dr. Elkin was wrong in taking Mayo’s property supports this longstanding Mayo Clinic policy. Mayo Clinic is a not-for profit entity and all funds generated from successful commercialization of Mayo inventions are returned to Mayo Clinic to support ongoing education and patient care efforts.
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