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Open Access Technology Transfer for All the Right Reasons

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By granting universities and faculty the rights to retain intellectual property arising from federally sponsored research, the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 provided critical motivation to universities and their faculty members to take an active role in commercializing technology based on their discoveries. While many universities feel it is imperative that their technology transfer operations work to recover costs, and dwindling state funding for higher education has caused some state legislatures and university governing boards to view technology transfer as a potential revenue source, we maintain that revenue generation, in most instances, is not the primary motivation for university technology commercialization. If done with the right goals in mind, technology transfer aligns with universities' overarching research, education, and service missions, helping to ensure that public investment in science is impactful, that it advances broader economic development objectives, and that it serves the public interest. In 2015, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Universities (AAU) issued recommendations to their members encouraging them to reaffirm their commitment to managing intellectual property in the public interest and calling for an unequivocal declaration by university leaders that technology transfer efforts serve first and foremost the best interests of society. This article relays the recommendations put forth by the associations.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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  • Technology and Innovation, edited and published by the National Academy of Inventors, is a forum for presenting information encompassing the entire field of applied sciences, with a focus on transformative technology and academic innovation. Regular features of T&I include commentaries contributed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in-depth profiles of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors in every issue.

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