Slide Celebrating the past. Protecting the future. Slide John T. Preston, former Director of Technology Licensing at MIT and founder of TEM Capital. Were it not for Bayh-Dole hundreds of MIT technologies would not have been commercialized for the benefit of mankind - estimated to have created 400,000+ jobs in the US. If I were to pick one example that would resonate with everyone it is the following. In 1993 when the US was creating the standard for high definition TV, MIT designed a TV that won a competition sponsored by the FCC. MIT's ownership in the intellectual property in that TV enabled MIT to insist that the TV standard would be compatible with computers over strong objections from the TV industry. MIT's success in that argument enabled many features of TVs that we take for granted today as well as the ability to watch TV on computers and other devices. In essence, we can use a TV as a computer and a computer as a TV. The implications are enormous and enabled hundreds of new business opportunities ranging from APPs to content providers Slide Michael Dixon, PhD, President and CEO UNeMed Corporation, Univeristy of Nebraska Medical Center Here's one of our most recent examples of the transformative powers of the Bayh-Dole Act: Virtual Incision Corporation, a startup that spun out of an innovative collaboration between two campuses in the University of Nebraska system.

With funding from the DOD and NASA, Shane Farritor, PhD, a robotics engineer in Lincoln, and Dmitry Oleynikov, MD, a surgeon from the University's medical campus in Omaha, developed miniaturized surgical robots that could transform open surgeries into minimally invasive procedures. In addition to dramatically reducing recovery time, the technology would also help make surgical procedures more accessible to underserved areas like rural communities or even low-earth orbit and beyond. Virtual Incision's robots have the power to turn virtually any room into an surgical suite, and potentially provide any patient access to any surgeon in the world.
Slide Niels Reimers, Founder and Former Director of Stanford University's Office of Technology Licensing At the time before Bayh-Dole was passed, there were relatively few universities actively encouraging companies to consider university research findings as sources of their future competitiveness. As a university licensing person, I found that my call to a company officer about a new technology was their first contact from a university. Because of the published arguments presented in favor of the bill and its strong support from Congress, other universities quickly began licensing programs and the competitiveness of US industry rapidly surged. Slide John T. Preston, former Director of Technology Licensing at MIT and founder of TEM Capital. After education and research, MIT views public benefit as a primary responsibility - more important than optimizing direct benefit from royalties. During my tenure overseeing MIT's intellectual property we often utilized B-D to optimize the benefit to society. One example was in the 1980s when we developed and patented a fundamental invention for using windows in computer operating systems. The manifestation of this invention was a UNIX program called X-Windows. MIT knew that this fundamental patent was going to be important, but rather than license it to optimize royalties, we structured an agreement with the 10 largest computer/software companies to standardize on our software in exchange for a free license to everyone. This royalty free license enabled rapid development of software functionality in the 1990s (windowing is everywhere today). Such enlightened behavior would be unlikely with Govt ownership of the invention. Slide Fred Reinhart, Senior Advisor for Technology Transfer at UMass Amherst
As the Bayh-Dole Act turns 40, it is a good time to reflect on how far we have come as a nation, academic community and technology transfer profession. Looking at both statistics and inspiring stories, it is clear that the Act has had a tremendous impact on the well-being of Americans and the entire global community as a catalyst that brought a long pipeline of innovation into public use and lifted economies in countries that have passed similar legislation. The Act has made universities and teaching hospitals key, indispensable partners in transforming scientific outcomes into inventions, products and services and facilitating their identification, protection, development, and transfer to new and existing companies large and small. As for those of us who, in the 1980s, stumbled into this new and fascinating career, well, I can only say it has been sheer joy to work with amazing and creative academic investigators in this fascinating intersection of technology, business, and law. It is a great blessing to go to work every day and learn something new, be confronted by challenging and meaningful problems, and see your efforts, both individual and collective, pay off in the long term.

Thanks, Birch Bayh and Robert Dole for making the world a better place.
Click here to share a Bayh-Dole success story

Since its passage, the Bayh-Dole Act has bolstered U.S. economic output by $1.3 trillion, supported 4.2 million jobs, and helped lead to more than 11,000 start-up companies.

What is the Bayh-Dole Act?

Empowers universities, small businesses and non-profit institutions to take ownership of inventions made during federally-funded research, so they can license these basic inventions for further applied research and development and broader public use.

Encourages private-sector investment needed to turn basic government-funded research into tested and approved products, requires these products to be manufactured domestically and ensures royalties for universities to further advance basic research and education.

Allows the government to require additional licensing of inventions arising from its research if the invention is not being made available for public use or during public health or other national emergencies.

Enacted by Congress with strong bipartisan support to ensure basic innovations discovered through federal research are developed into real-life products, including approved therapies that reduce suffering, treat the sick and improve the lives of patients.

Innovation’s Golden Goose

Possibly the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the past half-century was the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980… More than anything, this single policy measure helped to reverse America’s precipitous slide into industrial irrelevance.

– The Economist
Explore Bayh-Dole

Learn More about the 40 Years of Bayh-Dole

Read up on how the Bayh-Dole Act continues to make news in American and worldwide politics today.

Which industries benefit form the Bayh-Dole Act? What has changed in the 40 years since its passage? Find answers to these and more in our library of infographics.

The Bayh-Dole Act benefits the U.S. economy, taxpayers, consumers and patients, and we support the continuation of this vital piece of legislation.