See the excerpt below from The Deseret News:

After discovering a new enzyme in 1989, Brigham Young University professor Daniel L. Simmons realized his find might lead to a painkiller that would reduce inflammation without the stomach problems caused by existing drugs.

But rather than patent the discovery, the private school placed its trust in a powerful drugmaker and, according to a new lawsuit, was cheated out of billions of dollars as a result.

Simmons and the Provo university seek actual and punitive damages, now estimated to be “significantly in excess of $1 billion.”  They also want corrections to 75 patents, in order to credit Simmons for his work.   

BYU asserts it had a 1991 contract with Monsanto to collaborate on development of an aspirinlike drug, called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Monsanto was required to alert the university if results from the project could be patented, and to share profits, according to the lawsuit.   

This is an interesting case which reminds me of how we are counseled to extend charity and “turn the other cheek.”  It appears that BYU very naively assumed that by not patenting the discovery and partnering with Monsanto they would be treated fairly.  Of course this did not happen according to BYU.  Monsanto (Now Pfizer) seems to think otherwise.  If BYU is a Christian university that truly believes and should follow Gospel tenets, then should it be willing to “turn the other cheek” in a case like this?  I would say no, but when should a Mormon institution practice what it preaches?  What should be the criteria when it should be charitable and forgiving and when should it play hardball?  These are hard questions that extend beyond Mormon institutions to each of us.  When should we be charitable and extend mercy?  When should we play hardball?  Is it when small amounts of money are involved, large amounts?  What about when people’s feelings are involved?  How do we keep ourselves from being taken advantage of while still trying to be Christlike in our interactions with our fellow humans?