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
(Cont'd from benefits-of-technology-transfer.html)
Here is an outline of the methodology for the development and functioning of an Office of Technology Transfer at a research university or a lab.
Note that the choice of the name “Office of Technology Transfer” (OTT) is deliberate. One could propose to use “Office of Technology Licensing” used in some universities. The fact is that many institutions have an ethos in which researchers believe their work should be freely available to all. As I write in a previous blog, technology transfer has many important benefits other than financial returns.
One of the central thrust of the OTT is that it needs to be entrepreneurial, collaborative, respectful of the lab or university’s ethos, and marketing-oriented. This means:
Buy-in from the labs and their staff is critical
Methodology for assessing and developing an invention towards a marketable patent:
A possible breakdown of the proceeds of license agreements:
OTT should consider allowing equity participation instead of cash when dealing with start-ups (where cash is precious).
In addition to the internal outreach mentioned above, a concerted external PR effort should prepare the field. It is critical to the success of the operation that the lab’s unique assets be leveraged for strong OTT returns and maximize the other benefits of successful technology transfer activities.