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UW-Madison seeks exemption from open-records law

Proposal prompted by change in patent law

MADISON, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-Madison wants an exemption from the state's open-records law that would allow it to keep research information private until it's published or patented.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the university is circulating a two-page document among Republican lawmakers suggesting language for a standalone bill.

The university said its proposal was prompted by a change in federal patent law. Patents are now awarded on a first-to-file basis, meaning a rival could use the open-records law to gain early access to UW-Madison research and then try to file a patent first.

But the proposal doesn't sit well with Bill Lueders, who runs the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. He says current law already allows UW to deny requests if it can cite a legitimate reason.

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