Celebrating Technology Transfer Professionals Day on December 12thDecember 11, 2020

Tomorrow we celebrate Technology Transfer Professionals Day and salute all those who work in helping our universities and research institutions in advancing their discoveries to a final product or service. These professionals are responsible for successful innovation management, corporate engagement, protecting and licensing inventions to companies, new venture creation and incubation, and economic development.

This day was chosen since it was the anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act (P.L. 96-517, Patent and Trademark Act Amendments of 1980) that was enacted on December 12, 1980. This act created a uniform patent policy among the many federal agencies that fund research, enabling small businesses and non-profit organizations, including universities, to retain title to inventions made under federally funded research programs. This legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Birch Bayh (D-IN) and Robert Dole (R-KS). This act was instrumental in encouraging universities to participate in technology transfer activities.

Technology transfer efforts have grown significantly since the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act. In 1980, fewer than 250 patents were issued to U.S. universities each year and discoveries were seldom commercialized for the public’s benefit. In fiscal year 2018, the last year data was available, AUTM reported that 7,625 U.S. patents were issued, 9,350 new licenses and options were executed, 17,087 U.S. patent applications were filed, 1,080 start-ups were formed and 828 new commercial products were developed.

AUTM is a major contributor and valuable partner to the success of the work done by technology transfer professionals by highlighting the public value of government-sponsored academic research, supporting its members through career education, advocating for strong intellectual property rights, and expanding industry-academic engagement. MVS supports and applauds the work done by AUTM through our membership on their board of directors to our work on a number of AUTM initiatives.

The future of academic technology transfer, and those professionals contributing to its success, is very much alive and well. As the thousands of license agreements executed mature, they are likely to continue to yield several hundred new products each year, over a thousand start-up companies annually and the many jobs created through those newly formed companies.

Congratulations to all Technology Transfer Professionals who have made all of this possible and MVS commends your valuable efforts.

Heidi S. Nebel is Managing Member and Chair of the Biotechnology and Chemical Practice Groups at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit  www.ipmvs.com.

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