University alleges that Defendants subverted and misappropriated its rights and
interests in valuable technology that was developed collaboratively at its campus; that
the wrongful actions include breaches of and interference with the University’s
contractual right to joint ownership in the technology, as well as tortious
misrepresentations and misappropriation. The Plaintiffs assert that Defendants
remained silent in response to the University’s repeatedly stated view that it had an
ownership interest in the scanner and associated intellectual property. At no time during
discussion the University argues, did any of the Defendants deny that the University had
an ownership interest, nor did any of the Defendants indicate that Dr. Townsend would
not be executing an assignment in favor of the University. The Defendants filed a motion
for summary judgment.
JUDICIAL OPINION: JUDGE SHIRLEY
In the present case, the facts … are not in dispute. Further, the fact that Dr. Townsend did
not assign his interest in the PET/CT scanner invention and the fact that the University
was provided with a copy of the provisional patent application are also … not in dispute.
The only question that remains is whether the University acted with reasonable
diligence upon learning these facts. The issue of the reasonableness of the University’s
actions is a question of law for the Court. In the present case, the University concedes
that it was aware of the lack of assignment of Dr. Townsend’s intellectual property
rights, but contends that the lack of assignment did not raise any “red flags” due to the
“continuing affirmations” by the Defendants recognizing the University’s ownership
interest. The University’s claim appears to the Court to be more in the nature of a claim
of fraudulent concealment. The Defendants’ actions need not rise to fraud or
concealment in the strictest sense, that is, with an intent to deceive; unintentional fraud
or concealment is sufficient. Mere mistake, misunderstanding or lack of knowledge is
not sufficient to invoke the doctrine of fraudulent concealment. The burden is on the
Plaintiff to show by clear and convincing evidence that such fraud or concealment
occurred.

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