With major litigation looming over invention ownership rights affected by the Bayh Dole Act (see my post of November 3rd on Stanford v. Roche), the link below is to a site created by AUTM and a number of other organizations concerned with university tech transfer. The site provides some good background on the history and the impact of the Act. A House resolution honoring the Act has been introduced and a celebration is planned in DC for December 1st.
Since 1980, thousands of companies (not all still with us) have been created in the U.S. due to patenting and licensing activities mandated by the Bayh-Dole Act, and hundreds of millions of dollars in licensing revenue have flowed into universities from patenting and out-licensing technology to established corporations (like big pharma) as well as to start-ups that go the distance (often to take-over by a larger med tech company). I emphasize life sciences commercialization because more than 80% of university/institutional patenting is in this area. Not bad for an “unfunded mandate.” A recent study that was published in Nature Reviews-Drug Discovery, looked at FDA approvals between 1997 and 2008 and found that 24% of approved drugs originated from university research. All had been licensed to pharma or biotech companies. (Find story here.)
On a more personal note, the first two IP talks I ever did were for the Chemistry and the Law Division of the American Chemical Society at National Meetings in 1987 and 1988. The first was entitled, “Selected Aspects of Patent Law Affecting the University Inventor,” and the second was “”Technology Transfer: From Non-Profit Research to Profit.” I expected a huge audience of professors eager to learn how to commercialize their discoveries but I was ahead of my time, and the meager audience was mostly lonely patent attorneys looking for clients and company. I also spoke at AUTM for the first time in 1989, when it was still the “Society of University Patent Administrators.” I was part of a plenary session and there were probably 50 people in the room, but it was a start, both for me and for university tech transfer. ‘Happy, happy birthday, baby.” You’ve come a long way.