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USPTO Marks 30th Anniversary of Bayh-Dole Act

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Washington, DC – The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act with a special program at its Alexandria, Va., headquarters featuring congressional leaders who were instrumental in the passage of the legislation, including former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN) and former U.S. Representative Robert Kastenmeier (D-WI). Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos opened the program.

The Bayh-Dole Act, passed on Dec. 12, 1980, created a uniform patent policy among the many federal agencies that fund research, enabling small business and non-profit organizations - including universities - to retain title to inventions made under federally funded research programs. The Act was also instrumental in encouraging universities to participate in technology transfer activities. The legislation is credited with the creation of thousands of new companies and billions of dollars of direct benefits to the U.S. economy.

“Bayh-Dole shows that citizens really can change government,” said Bayh. “That doesn't mean that the process is easy or quick. A handful of determined men and women made the law a reality and have preserved it for 30 years. Now we need new hands to help carry the message of how valuable Bayh-Dole is to the continued health and wealth of the United States.”

Kastenmeier added, “The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 and its subsequent amendments take advantage of a unique American cycle of innovation. With the help of federal funding, university researchers discover and create solutions that open new opportunities for technology transfer. The Act is constructed on the solid foundation of intellectual property to stimulate economic growth and job creation for the benefit of society at large. This interplay between government, institutions of higher education, and the private sector is the engine of national ingenuity that should not only be celebrated but fostered in the future as well.”

“Over the past thirty years since its passage, Bayh-Dole has managed to spark innovation and capture the value of federally funded research on university campuses across the country,” said Kappos. “All of the benefits brought forth by the enactment of this legislation reaffirm the basic understanding rooted in our Constitution that the issuance of patent rights promotes advancements in both science and commerce. At the United States Patent and Trademark Office, we take great pride in playing a central role in this progress.”

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