What is Bayh-Dole and why is it important to Technology Transfer?


This is an old article, but it perfectly describes how the Bayh-Dole Act helps many government funded researchers make money. The 1.26 Billion in gross licensing is an old figure from 2000. I am looking for the latest. I will keep you posted. Hey, no implications being made, but the facts are the facts.

In 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act (PL 96-517, Patent and Trademark Act Amendments of 1980) created a uniform patent policy among the many federal agencies funding research. As a result of this law, universities retain ownership to inventions made under federally funded research. In return, universities are expected to file for patent protection and to ensure commercialization upon licensing. The royalties from such ventures are shared with the inventors; a portion is provided to the University and department/college; and the remainder is used to support the technology transfer process.

From a historical perspective, there was a need for reliable technology transfer mechanisms and for a uniform set of federal rules to make the process work. It was tough for the federal government to transfer technologies for which it had assumed ownership. In 1980, the federal government had approximately 30,000 patents of which only 5% led to new or improved products. Many patents were not being used as the government did not have the resources to develop and market the inventions. Thus, Bayh-Dole gave universities control of their inventions.

Prior to Bayh-Dole, fewer than 250 patents were issued to universities per year. In FY 2000, there were over 330 U.S. and Canadian institutions and universities engaged in technology transfer. Technology transfer has helped to spawn new businesses, create industries and open new markets. In fact, core technologies, likely to spark new industries, often result from university patents. University-industry collaborations have helped to move new discoveries from the lab to the marketplace faster and more efficiently than ever before -- ensuring that products and services based on federally funded research reach the public.

The reason that the Bayh-Dole act is so instrumental to university technology transfer is that it speeds up the commercialization process of federally funded university research and helps new industries to develop quicker. Examples range from Stanford’s Cohen-Boyer patent on the basic gene splicing tools - to the Axel patents, from Columbia University which provided a completely new process for inserting genes into mammalian cells to make protein. Bayh-Dole has also enabled laboratory advances to become a significant factor in U.S. and Canadian industrial growth. The Bayh-Dole act is also vital to the university as a whole. University gross licensing revenues exceeded $200M in 1991 and by 1992 that number had risen to $250M. In FY 2000, U.S. and Canadian institution and universities Gross Licensing Income is reported in the AUTM survey at $1.26 Billion.

COGR University Technology Transfer: Questions and Answers, October 1999
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The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent

The stakes are very high for University labs to allow the proliferation of a new revolutionary medical procedure like autologous stem cells to replace the R&D funds of University labs and non-profit labs. Here is the latest article I found from June of 2011. I attached the link below. This was done as a Congressional Research Service.


I selected some interesting captions from the research document:

…Universities, however, generally do not have the means of production necessary to take the results of research and generate marketable products. Such activities are carried out by industry. Thus, the emphasis in the Bayh-Dole Act on the promotion of cooperative efforts between academia and the business community. By providing universities with intellectual property ownership with which to pursue and structure collaborative ventures, the legislation is intended to encourage the two sectors to work together to generate new goods, processes, and services for the marketplace. Such joint work allows for shared costs, shared risks, shared facilities, and shared expertise…

The Bayh-Dole Act appears to have met its expressed goals of using “the patent system to promote the utilization of inventions arising from federally-supported research or development; ... and to promote collaboration between commercial concerns and nonprofit organizations, including universities.... ”37 In one of the earliest studies of the legislation, the General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office, GAO) found agreement among university administrators and small business representatives that P.L. 96-517 had “a significant impact on their research and innovation efforts.”38 While noting it was not correct to generalize about academia from the 25 universities studied, GAO did find that by 1987 all university administrators questioned indicated that the Bayh-Dole Act had “been significant in stimulating business sponsorship of university research, which has grown 74 percent ... ” from FY1980 to FY1985.39 According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), industry support for academic research grew faster than any other funding source until FY2002. Industry financing expanded from 3.9% of university R&D in 1980 to 7.2% in 2000, although by FY2009 industry support had dropped to 5.8% of academic R&D. In 1980, federal financing comprised 67.5% of the total academic undertaking; by 2000 federal support declined to 58.2% of university funding, yet increased to 59.3% in FY2009.40 It should be noted, however, that the federal government still remains the major source of academic research funding.

The majority of the university personnel involved in the GAO study indicated that the increase in industry support for research at universities was “directly” attributed to the patent changes in P.L. 96-517 and P.L. 98-620. Academic faculty interviews conducted by GAO found that “since businesses knew that universities could take title to federally funded inventions, they no longer were concerned that their research efforts could be ‘contaminated’ by federal funding with the possibility that a federal agency could assert title rights to resulting inventions.”41 All respondents agreed that the removal of licensing restrictions on nonprofit institutions (including universities) by P.L. 98-620 was of vital importance in promoting industry-university interaction.42 This was reinforced by the finding that 9 out of 10 business executives questioned identified the Bayh-Dole Act as an “important factor” in their decisions to fund R&D in academia… In 1980, 390 patents were awarded to universities;49 by 2008, the number increased to 3,042.
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Pioneer Founding member
LLL6521 - I do not think that universities want autologous stem cell treatment to be simply a medical procedure that patients get after consulting with their own doctors.

The list of stem cell related patents held by research scientists who work for universities is growing by the day. There is a lot of research on iPS cells as well as embryonic stem cells. It's obvious if the patent has to do with these types of stem cells, the incentive to block any effort to allow us to simply get a medical procedure with our own doctor is humongous.

There has been little acknowledgement of these conflicts. It's time to change all of that and start speaking up. If anyone on this forum sees an article that doesn't explain the interest the author or those quoted in the article have on the subject, then please bring it to the attention of this forum. It's time to shine some light on those that are being touted as experts and spokes people.