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>The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university

So it's a university [mainly] funded by the tax-payer. How can it be that the research of this university isn't in the public domain? The public paid for it, the public should reap the benefits without paying again.

Sure, Apple tries their hardest not to pay taxes, but the patent isn't limited to them.

To complicate things a little bit, Intel actually funded the research underlying this patent. This was the crux of the WARF vs Intel suit a few years ago — Intel argued they received a license to the patent as part of their grant.


"Intel had supported Sohi's research with about $90,000 in gifts in the 1990s and argued it was entitled to the intellectual property that resulted from Sohi's work.

However US District Judge Barbara Crabb laughed Chipzilla's argument out of court and ordered the case to trial.

She said that the funding terms did not give Intel the right to use patents resulting from the work. However she said that any infringement by Intel was not willful because the funding agreements were ambiguous."

> So it's a university [mainly] funded by the tax-payer

This is not true, at least for most states. For example, the UW system got 1.2 Billion from the state out of a 6 Billion dollar budget: https://www.wisconsin.edu/about-the-uw-system/

The large majority of most state university funding comes through tuition, research grants, and donations.

Well the majority of tuition funding is on loan from the federal government and I'm sure a big chunk of that grant money comes from DARPA, NSF, NIH, etc.

That's not necessarily to say their work should be in the public domain but it would still be nice to see them focus on more productive uses of their IP rather than just license fee extraction.

The federal government generally makes a profit on student loans -- (most of them) get paid back eventually.

True. My point was more that their budget would look very different if not for federal guarantees on those (relatively risky) loans.

And patents!

WARF (the designated rights holder for UW patents) gives an annual gift of ~$60M to the University, if I recall correctly.

I don't know. I kinda like the idea of public universities licensing their research and patents to raise money, and I think the public benefit there outweighs making the research public domain, by decreasing the amount of public funding needed, and/or lowering tuition.

I mean, let's be honest here, a patent like this is isn't particularly useful to the public because almost nobody outside of a few very large corporations can afford to implement it, and they stand to make a ton of money from it. The last thing Apple needs is publicly subsidized research.

You can thank congress for that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayh–Dole_Act

The reason for the act, I think, was to provide the incentive to commercialize the results of potentially valuable research. It's not an entirely loony idea

I guess the university can provide better services[1] to the public if it's profitable.

[1] Like an NFL-class stadium.

I'm not trying to be snarky but are you being serious ?

Because NFL-Class Stadium is not one of the features I would think of if I was doing a bullet list of things a university should have.

My 30k student university has a sports hall and a gym.

Some of the major college football programs have a net worth over half a billion dollars each. The University of Texas Leghorns (men's football program) brings in over USD$130 million a year. UT has 50K students.


Yeah, in the conferences with TV deals the sports programs are not a money sink. The Big 10 certainly has a TV deal (it even has its own cable network).

Also, just the ticket sales for one game at Camp Randall Stadium bring in ~$4 million.

Notre Dame's television deal with NBC was just extended to 2025, at $15 million per season.

That must be why tuition fees are so high and record levels of student debt is required.

What an upside down system!

Nobody pays the sticker price. This podcast explains more:


And those copyrights get enforced.

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