Graduate Students

Inventor Behind Lucrative Eye-Drop Product Now Champions Faculty Patent Rights Online

January 13, 2009

A former professor at the University of Georgia who has been battling the institution over royalties for her eye-care invention is taking her issue to the Internet.

The researcher, Renee L. Kaswan, is a veterinarian whose patents are the basis for the popular eye-drop product Restasis. Dr. Kaswan has established a faculty-focused Web site called IP Advocate, which features information for professors about the ins and outs of technology transfer.

On the site she describes IP Advocate as “a philanthropic organization dedicated to equipping the academic research community with critical information needed to understand and traverse the complex flow of policy, law, and procedure from innovation through technology transfer and commercialization of intellectual property.”

The site also features case studies of technology-transfer disputes in which researchers have felt aggrieved by the process, including her own experience. Also among the case studies are the stories of Stephen F. Badylak and his battles with Purdue University, and of Petr Taborsky, a former researcher at the University of South Florida who in the 1990s famously was forced to spend time in jail for refusing to turn over research notebooks. —Goldie Blumenstyk