Bayh-Dole 40: Celebrating the Past, Protecting the Future
It’s highly appropriate that the 40th anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act occurs in a year as politically contentious as that in which it passed. In 1980, many predicted that our best years were behind us and that the United States would soon lose its place as the world’s economic superpower. Experts proclaimed the best remedy was to adopt the “Japan, Inc.” model, where the government bureaucracy orchestrated a coalition of dominant companies boldly plotting the future (that idea was particularly popular with many in Washington, D.C.). The patent system was under constant attack for being unfair, the U.S. suffered from double digit unemployment and inflation (dubbed “the misery index”) and energy costs skyrocketed. Congress discovered that despite billions of dollars invested annually in federally funded R&D, few inventions were being brought to the marketplace where they could benefit the American people. It felt like the bottom had fallen out from under the feet of our nation. To remind us how far we’ve come—and prevent us from sliding back into the morass—stakeholders across the innovation spectrum have come together to form Bayh-Dole 40. This coalition of industry, academic, policy organizations, venture capital and others (including IP Watchdog) will host a series of events, briefings, papers and other activities explaining the importance of the incentives and authorities of our intellectual property system as embodied in the Bayh-Dole Act, to our prosperity and continued well being.