U.S. patent law is addressed in the U.S. Constitution: Article I, Section 8. [link]. In addition, one remembers that the Bayh-Dole Act (1980) gives the freedom to inventors, funded by government research contracts or grants, to exploit their inventions. [link]
More recently the federal government has clearly indicated its desire to see lab-to-market commercialization of technologies.
See, in particular:
Given the current assault on science research funding, one imagines that these institutions would welcome the ability to create a supplementary income stream to their general fund, as well as rewarding their departments and inventors. Being a close admirer of the SLAC Linear Accelerator Center, a DOE federal lab, I looked in particular at the DOE’s Technology Transfer Execution Plan listed above. I focus on their two outlined objectives:
It is important, in my view that one recognizes that, in addition to the potential financial returns to a general fund, a department lab and the inventor(s), one should also consider the following benefits, particularly given some labs’ ethos to freely share their intellectual capital:
Continued in the next article at www.pierreschwob.com/blog/archives/12-2016