Tech Transfer eNews Blog
University-Industry Engagement Advisor

New report outlines federal efforts to improve tech transfer

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 19th, 2018

A recent report titled Return on Investment Initiative to Advance the President’s Management Agenda: Unleashing American Innovation outlines the Trump Administration’s strategy to improve technology commercialization in the U.S.

The report addresses a wide range of long neglected issues that have hindered tech transfer. The proposed solutions are based on feedback from a series of public meetings and written comments about boosting the return on investment from the $150 billion spent each year on government-supported research and development.

One of the paper’s major concerns is how the current patent system acts as a barrier to innovation. It recommends “changes to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Proceedings, particularly around Inter Partes Review,” as many believe that the system discriminates against patent holders and discourages investment.

The report also notes the inability of patent owners to secure injunctions against unauthorized sales of their inventions, and how that erodes faith in the patent system. It also recommends clarifying the scope of patent eligible subject matter based on the America Invents Act and Supreme Court rulings, as well as restoring the right of patent owners to sue for damages if they are subjected to abuse such as false evidence in reexaminations.

According to the paper, the most serious threat comes from criticisms of the Bayh-Dole Act, which seeks to ensure that strong efforts are being made to commercialize federally funded technologies.

Critics have argued that the law allows the government to “march in” and take control of licensed technologies developed with federal funding if they aren’t “reasonably priced.” The report rejects this theory, pointing out that the law says nothing about how products are priced and is instead intended to make products more rapidly available to the public. The paper suggests clarifying in Bayh-Dole’s regulations that “the intent of ‘reasonable licensing terms’” is “to allow a product or service to reach the marketplace but not as terms (i.e., price control mechanism) for consumer use.”

Joseph Allen, a 30-year veteran of national efforts to foster public/private tech transfer partnerships, sees the report as a much-needed step in the right direction.

“The report effectively addresses a wide variety of problems in the system,” Allen writes in IP Watchdog. “Many have lingered for decades but the government lacked the leadership and the will to address them. It looks like that may be ending. That’s a good thing for American taxpayers.”

E-News readers can access the full report here.

Source: IP Watchdog

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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