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(Last updated 3/15/06)

Previous materials pertaining to this issue:

"Federal NIH Office Clears Ohio State Research Program; Finds No Problem With Animal Treatment In Spinal Research Project," 5/22/05.

"Ohio State University Response To Concerns Over Its NIH-Funded Spinal Cord Injury Training Program," 8/25/05.

OHIO SUPREME COURT SUPPORTS OSU IN ANIMAL RIGHTS LAWSUIT

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Supreme Court today ruled against a national animal rights group, denying its attempt to gain access to research data gathered by Ohio State University scientists.

The group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, filed suit late last year seeking access to photographs, videotapes and other records produced as a part of the university's spinal cord injury training program.

Ohio State had argued that such records are considered “intellectual property” and are exempted from disclosure under the Ohio Public Records Act.

The Court ruled that the records “remain the intellectual property of OSU, and none of OSU's actions suggest that it intends to give up its right to the scientific and financial benefits that might redound to OSU from its research in the treatment of spinal-cord injuries.”

The decision also stated that “OSU has met its burden of establishing that the records at issue are ‘intellectual property records' . . . and PCRM is therefore not entitled to them under the Public Records Act.”

“We are exceedingly pleased that the Court agreed with our position that these records comprise a protected portion of our research data and therefore are not considered public records,” said Doug Kniss, senior associate vice president for research.

“This ruling should ease scientists' concerns that their research might be compromised by disclosure of data particularly in areas of controversial biomedical research.”

The court action is linked to a federally sponsored spinal cord injury training program taught each summer at Ohio State. The program, supported by the National Institutes of Health, offers a small group of researchers and scientists from around the world the chance to learn new research techniques to study spinal cord injuries.

The program was cited as a model to be emulated by the federal Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. That IOM report called for a national strategy to help physicians and scientists improve recovery from spinal cord injury.

PCRM and other animal rights groups have waged campaigns against this research program for several years.

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Contact: Earle Holland, (614) 292-8384; Holland.8@osu.edu