At the relevant times, Dr Alexander was Head of Virology at RCH where his primary role was to maintain the Virology/Tissue Culture and Molecular Diagnostics service, which conducts viral diagnostic work on upwards of 10,000 clinical samples at the hospital each year. The dispute played out before the Australian Patent Office, where a Hearing Officer found that it was one of Dr Alexander’s duties to improve the viral diagnostic techniques used at the hospital, so as to enable RCH to better diagnose viral diseases. She also found that the ‘growth medium’ invention was made in the course of those duties, and thus belonged to his employer, RCH.
We wrote at the time that:
The decision is subject to appeal to the Federal Court. While this is an expensive option, if the RCH’s example of over 10,000 clinical samples per year is typical, there is potential for the invention of the ‘051 application to be quite valuable, and so an appeal by Dr Alexander may not be out of the question.
We can now confirm that Dr Alexander has indeed appealed to the Federal Court of Australia.
The appeal was filed in the Melbourne Registry on 1 December 2011, and was initially listed before Justice Jessup on 21 December 2011. A directions hearing is currently set down for 10 February 2012. The case is file no. VID1352/2011.