Public university, public research—and four big patent suits

24 11 2014
American universities are filing an increasing number of patent lawsuits. The newest example is a batch of lawsuits filed last week by the University of Minnesota (UMN), one of the nation’s largest public research universities.

In the new lawsuits, the university says one of its professors invented key technology behind the LTE protocol. UMN is demanding royalty payments from all four of the largest cell phone carriers, Verizon, AT&T (PDF), T-Mobile (PDF), and Sprint. Professor Georgios Giannakis did work that “improves reliability and speed” on LTE networks, according to the University’s statement on the litigation.

Giannakis’ research was supported in part by public funds, including grants from the National Science Foundation and the US Army.


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