Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Time for tech transfer law to change? Doctor looks at history of Bayh-Dole, and says yes

Date:
August 29, 2013
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
The law that has helped medical discoveries make the leap from university labs to the marketplace for more than 30 years needs revising, in part to ensure the American people benefit from science their tax dollars have paid for, says a physician and medical historian.

The law that has helped medical discoveries make the leap from university labs to the marketplace for more than 30 years needs revising, in part to ensure the American people benefit from science their tax dollars have paid for, says a University of Michigan Medical School physician and medical historian.

Related Articles


In a new commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine, Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U-M Center for the History of Medicine, looks at the fluke-ridden history of how the law known as Bayh-Dole Technology Transfer Act was passed in 1980. The law made it much easier for research findings made by academics to be patented, licensed by companies and commercialized.

The haphazard history of Bayh-Dole, and the issues and risks that have arisen since it was passed, suggest it is time to re-examine and revise the law, says Markel.

The need for more modern guidance of the process known as technology transfer, and the conduct of ethical and socially just partnerships between academia and industry, was reflected in the recent unanimous Supreme Court ruling that barred the patenting of human genes -- though allowed other patents of gene-related discoveries, Markel says.

He traces the history of the Bayh-Dole law, which allows universities and other institutions that receive federal research dollars to grant exclusive licenses to companies that wish to commercialize discoveries made by academic researchers.

Initially conceived as a way to help the United States economy at a time when industry was struggling to keep up with German and Japanese innovation, the proposal only became law because of last-minute wrangling during the final days of a lame-duck Congressional and presidential term.

"The Bayh-Dole Act has had such far-reaching influence in both academia and American society, but it certainly is not a law that should be set in stone," says Markel. "The very passage of the act was based on a series of quirky, historically improbable events, and random and entropic processes. There have been many great things and grave problems that have emerged since the passage of Bayh-Dole, but because the landscape of biotechnologies in universities and industry has evolved so far, so fast, it's time to have a rational, serious dialogue about revising it to reduce the risks the law has created."

Markel notes that partnerships between industry and academia are important, and is not calling for a separation of the two spheres.

Rather, he feels that more consideration needs to the ethics of industry/academic interaction, the need for continued support of basic research, scientific data sharing, and the payback for American taxpayers whose dollars support research before commercialization.

"We're all paying for these discoveries, which can lead to profits for the individual researchers, their institution and the company that commercializes the idea," he says. "But the one investor that can be left out of the profit equation is the American taxpayer."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Howard Markel. Patents, Profits, and the American People — The Bayh–Dole Act of 1980. New England Journal of Medicine, 2013; 369 (9): 794 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1306553

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Time for tech transfer law to change? Doctor looks at history of Bayh-Dole, and says yes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130829145219.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2013, August 29). Time for tech transfer law to change? Doctor looks at history of Bayh-Dole, and says yes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130829145219.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Time for tech transfer law to change? Doctor looks at history of Bayh-Dole, and says yes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130829145219.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Oxfam International has called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan", with financial support given by wealthy countries, to help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to recover. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

RightThisMinute (Jan. 29, 2015) If your car has an "Insane Mode" then you know it&apos;s fast. Well, these unsuspecting passengers were in for one insane ride when they hit the button. Tesla cars are awesome. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Bill Gates joins the list of tech moguls scared of super-intelligent machines. He says more people should be concerned, but why? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins