School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Travis H. Bradshaw


intellectual property rights in higher education, intellectual property law, higher education law, Harvard lawsuits, Yale lawsuits


Education | Law


This dissertation used a historical research method to examine the rise of the centuries-long complex construct of intellectual property ownership through the lenses of American institutions of higher learning and the American legal system, the latter of which attributing its involvement in intellectual property rights once the principle of ownership became equated with the profit of ownership. Because universities are the traditional factories for innovation, this phenomenon within this expanse of time can be better understood by focusing on two historical research institutions. The universities of Harvard and Yale were explored due to their operational and intellectual property experiences mirroring the emergence of intellectual property ownership laws in America. Harvard University and Yale University have a shared history and have both gone from simple seminaries producing regional ministers to conglomerates producing research and development that yields potentially lucrative innovations. The purpose of this historical study was to describe how university intellectual property ownership interests began and how these contributed to, and interacted with, case law and legislation ultimately giving rise to the commercialization of collegiate-driven knowledge at the colonial colleges of Harvard and Yale. This study used historical documents such as seminal legal cases specific to Harvard and Yale, as well as, intellectual property rights legislation, supporting case law, and various texts. These, along with theory and secondary sources, provided a foundation for an ideological and cultural study of intellectual property ownership rights within two American higher education institutions.