Defending Bayh-Dole Under Attack


By: Gene Quinn (

On February 28, 2013, I spoke at the annual meeting of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), which was held in San Antonio, Texas. I spoke there about what universities can do to fend off the challenges to Bayh-Dole. As crazy as it seems, there are those who are advocating a change to what has been described by The Economist as the most successful piece of domestic legislation since the end of World War II.

Prior to the enactment of Bayh-Dole in 1980, it was virtually impossible to license University technology. In fact, a grand total of zero… that is 0… drugs developed with university funding from the federal government had been commercialized. Now, the pharmaceutical industry is enormously involved with universities and university research and dozens upon dozens of drugs have been commercialized. University basic science is the very foundation of many of the most exciting drugs, which provide tremendous cures and life-saving treatments. So dialing back the clock to when government-funded research was locked up so tight that it didn’t do anyone any good is simply ridiculous.


Exclusive Interview With Senator Birch Bayh

The following was sent in by Gene Quinn, of IPWatchdog and Practice Center Contributor.

On October 12, 2010, I had the honor of interviewing retired United States Senator Birch Bayh at his office at Venable LLP.  Senator Bayh was the primary architect of the landmark Bayh-Dole Act, which gave Universities the ability to own the patent rights to the inventions made.  The 30th Anniversary of passage in Congress is rapidly approaching, which provided the backdrop for our discussion.

Those familiar with Bayh-Dole and government funded research in generaly know that the United States has for years funded research at Universities.  Prior to the enactment of Bayh-Dole, however,  it was virtually impossible for private enterprises to license the rights to patents obtained through federally funded research. Thus, society was funding the research and the innovations were simply being withheld from the public due to the existence of too much red tape. Bayh-Dole changed everything, and has been described as the “the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America” since the end of World War II. (more…)