I think the article misses the point that passing a bad check is an actual crime in most places. It is not the same as not paying on a credit card or not paying the cable bill. The merchants who were passed the bad check potential victims of a crime.
I worked at a regional movie theater chain that offered movies under a similar license. We gave the tickets away for free and made all of our money off of snacks. The shows "kept the kids off the streets," the theater made money, and the MPAA was happy. Everyone wins. Same could happen here. Sell baked goods for a donation, give the tickets away for free and the license requirements should be met.
I'm all for reforming IP law and can see how big patent holders (in this case a University) often don't take the financial risks to develop a technology commercially and only take interest when someone else does and succeeds. But in this case, University of Missouri is not playing the role of a patent troll.
The University is accusing the professor of falsifying required papers to mislead the university about the progress on the research. The University is also claiming that the professor filed for patents without the knowledge of the university even after signing standard agreements that any IP developed would be the property of the University.
He also claims that the suit is part of a conspiracy to prevent a grievance he filed against the university being heard by the faculty committee. I know first hand that the faculty committee is very protective of their professors and I can imagine a lawsuit filed by the legal department against a professor would only encourage the committee to hear the grievance more.
Furthermore, its not as simple to say: its a public university therefore all research needs to be in the public domain. Different projects are funded by grants from private industry or foundations. One dealing with anti-freeze might be funded by a car company (as was with earlier research at University of Missouri on catalytic converters. If a car company helped the research, then shouldn't they be able to work out some sort of preferential licensing agreement with University.