Commercializing University Innovations: A Better Way
AbstractWith the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, the federal government explicitly endorsed the transfer of exclusive control over government-funded inventions to universities and businesses operating with federal contracts. While this legislation was intended to accelerate further development and commercialization of the ideas and inventions developed under federal contracts, the government did not provide any strategy, process, tools, or resources to shepherd innovations from the halls of academia into the commercial market. And more than twenty-five years later, it is clear that few universities have established an overall strategy to foster innovation, commercialization, and spillovers. Multiple pathways for university innovation exist and can be codified to provide broader access to innovation, allow a greater volume of deal flow, support standardization, and decrease the redundancy of innovation and the cycle time for commercialization. Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) were envisioned as gateways to facilitate the flow of innovation but have instead become gatekeepers that in many cases constrain the flow of inventions and frustrate faculty, entrepreneurs, and industry. The proposed changes focus on creating incentives that will maximize social benefit from the existing investments being made in R&D and commercialization on university campuses.
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