NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Yale University and one of its professors agreed to pay $1.5 million after failing to share patent royalties with the Department of Veteran Affairs, according to the United States Department of Justice.

According to a press release, Yale University and Dr. John Krystal failed to share patent royalties for inventions that Dr. Krystal made when he worked part-time for both institutions. These inventions were allegedly created between March 2006 and February 2023.

The DOJ said both Yale and the VA agreed that they would disclose “joint inventions,” that Dr. Krystal created, including “any future invention or discovery, which is or may be patentable… in which at least one employee with compensation from the VA and at least one person who has an appointment with Yale is named as a co-inventor.”

The settlement states that beginning in March 2006, Dr. Krystal and the co-inventors filed patent applications to use intranasal ketamine to treat depression and suicidal ideation. When the patents were approved, Yale and Dr. Krystal did not disclose the patents to the VA until December 2017.

The VA alleged that Yale and Dr. Krystal “knowingly and improperly avoided their obligations to disclose the ketamine patents to the VA and to pay the VA its share of the royalty payments for the patents.” It also alleged that they were “in breach of contract and unjustly enriched by their failure to share the royalty payments.”

Yale University released a statement regarding the settlement.

For decades, hundreds of Yale faculty members, including Dr. John Krystal, have collaborated with doctors and researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide world-class health care to veterans and to discover life-saving treatments.  

An oversight led to a delay in notifying the VA about patents received by Dr. Krystal. When Yale and Dr. Krystal learned of and promptly reported that oversight, it triggered a careful administrative process to determine the VA’s rights to the patents. 

Now that the process has concluded, Yale and Dr. Krystal are pleased to have reached an agreement with the VA to share royalties from these inventions. As noted in the DOJ’s press release, the claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of wrongdoing by Yale or Dr. Krystal. 

The university looks forward to strengthening its close ties with the VA, and to continuing to work with its partners there to improve the lives of veterans and the public at large through excellent clinical care and groundbreaking research.