September 30th, 2014
In a legal set-to, the University of Oregon, a UO associate professor and a former employee are fighting over who owns — and can profit from — a reading test used at 15,000 schools with 4 million students nationwide.
All sides agree that the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills — or DIBELS — had its origins at the university and has been used and tinkered on by many UO professors, graduate students and researchers.
The question is: Who does DIBELS (rhymes with dribbles) belong to now?
Associate Professor Roland Good and former graduate student and one-time UO employee Ruth Kaminski formed a company and took out a trademark and copyright on DIBELS in 2003.
One decade later, the UO asked the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel Good and Kaminski’s trademark.
“The university will defend its intellectual property rights, which are public property, to the fullest extent of the law,” UO spokeswoman Julie Brown said in a prepared statement.
That federal trademark case, however, was suspended recently after Good and Kaminski’s company — Dynamic Measurements Group Inc. — sued the UO in U.S. District Court in Eugene, alleging trademark and copyright infringement.