Wednesday 26 February 2020

Extra Protection for the Bayh-Dole Act Needed in the United States?

Bayh-Dole 40 is a new coalition of supporters of the landmark legislation concerning technology transfer—the Bayh-Dole Act.  The Bayh-Dole 40 has an attractive website with information concerning the history of the Act and its impact.  The press release states: 

Today, a diverse group of research and scientific organizations, as well as those directly involved in commercializing new products, launched Bayh-Dole 40, a coalition that will celebrate and protect the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act of 1980, better known as the “Bayh-Dole Act.”

The Bayh-Dole Act has empowered universities, small businesses, and nonprofits that have received federal grants to retain ownership of any patented inventions — and license those patents to private firms, who then turn promising ideas into real-life products that improve peoples’ lives. Thanks to Bayh-Dole, the public and private sectors have worked together to translate basic scientific research into life-saving drugs and medical devices, internet and GPS technologies, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and countless other innovations.

“Bayh-Dole made the United States the engine of global innovation,” said Bayh-Dole 40 founder and executive director Joseph Allen, who helped enact the law as a member of Senator Birch Bayh’s U.S. Senate Judiciary staff. “The Act reinvigorated research and development in America, spawning breakthrough discoveries ranging from high-yield crops to advanced medicines.”

Thanks to Bayh-Dole, over 200 new therapies — including drugs and vaccines — have been created since 1980. The legislation has also bolstered U.S. economic output by $1.3 trillion, supported 4.2 million jobs, and led to more than 11,000 start-up companies.

Bayh-Dole 40’s founding members include AUTM, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, BioHealth Innovation, Council on Governmental Relations, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Licensing Executives Society, and PhRMA, spanning the entire U.S. innovation ecosystem. The coalition will educate lawmakers to ensure the Act is utilized in the way Senators Birch Bayh and Bob Dole envisioned.

“Misusing Bayh-Dole to undermine the existing framework for public-private technology transfer and development, as some lawmakers are suggesting, would jeopardize the future of U.S. life-sciences innovation,” said Stephen Ezell, Vice President of Global Innovation Policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. “We look forward to engaging Congress on these issues to ensure the United States remains a life-sciences R&D powerhouse.”

About Bayh-Dole 40: Bayh-Dole 40 is a coalition of research and scientific organizations, as well as those directly involved in commercializing new products, dedicated to celebrating and protecting the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act of 1980, better known as the “Bayh-Dole Act.” The coalition was formed to educate policymakers about Bayh-Dole’s positive impact on medical innovation and defend the Act against imminent threats during its 40th anniversary year.

Bayh-Dole 40’s members include the Association of University Research Parks, AUTM, BIOCOM, BioHealth Innovation, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV), Council on Competitiveness, Council on Governmental Relations, Fuentek, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, IPWatchdog, Lehigh University Office of Economic Engagement, Licensing Executives Society (LES), Licensing Executives Society (LES) Silicon Valley Chapter, National Venture Capital Association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Pristine Surgical, STC.UNM, the IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and the Yale Office of Cooperative Research.

It is interesting that the existence of the coalition is necessary to protect the Bayh-Dole Act.  There is some polling to support that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders could defeat President Trump in an election, but I wonder if anyone really believes that polling (besides Sanders supporters) after the results of the last Presidential election. Maybe the concern will be what happens in the election after this one.  

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