In 1980, Senators Birch Bayh (D-IN) and Bob Dole (R-KS) drafted the Patent and Trademark Law Amendments Act, which eventually became known as the “Bayh-Dole Act.”
The two Senators recognized that scientists benefiting from federal funding were routinely making breakthrough discoveries — but by and large, those innovations would go on to gather dust. The reason? Discoveries that benefited from federal funding were not being effectively managed; the government was taking them away from the inventing organization to make them available to anyone through non-exclusive licensing.
The Bayh-Dole Act revolutionized technology transfer as it allowed universities, small businesses, and nonprofits to capitalize on their research and turn their discoveries into viable consumer products. By ensuring that academic institutions and companies would own inventions they make with government-support, Senators Bayh and Dole spurred the transformation of laboratory discoveries into new products benefitting the American taxpayer — and citizens throughout the world.
In 1978, Purdue University contacted Senator Birch Bayh’s Judiciary Committee staff about a patent problem they were having. The meeting included Howard Bremer and Norman Latker and led to the introduction of what was to become the Bayh-Dole Act. Howard and Norm helped us craft the Bayh-Dole Act which introduced the incentives of the patent system– and decentralized technology management– to take these inventions from the laboratory into the marketplace where they now improve lives around the world.
Howard was part of what’s rightly called The Greatest Generation—those who survived the Great Depression, fought and won World War II and then came home to build the most prosperous nation in history. Howard represented a rapidly receding era when integrity, modesty and personal responsibility were commonly held virtues.
Howard’s efforts were critical in the success of enacting Bayh-Dole and over the years, he remained a steadfast defender pushing back against the critics of the patent system. Whenever he saw misleading attacks launched against Bayh-Dole, he would not sit idly by, but went straight to work on a response which was always factual, and never stooped to personal attacks.
Norm was the patent counsel at the National Institutes of Health in the 1960s. He realized that billions of dollars’ worth of federally funded research was going unused because the government took patent rights away from universities and others creating inventions with agency support. Norm envisioned a more effective system to take these discoveries off of the agency shelves, and transform them into useful products. Working with the founders of what became AUTM, the program became the forerunner of the Bayh-Dole Act.
When the law finally passed, Bayh and Dole entrusted crafting the implementing regulations to Norm’s capable hands. He then spent two years successfully fighting off efforts by the bureaucracy to undermine the law.
Niels Reimers actively supported Bayh-Dole and developed the Stanford technology transfer model, which he later took to MIT. Niels licensed the Cohen-Boyer invention, which is widely considered to have jump started the U.S. biotechnology industry. The impact of Cohen-Boyer alerted American companies to the value of universities as research partners; Bayh-Dole made this, and similar federally funded discoveries economic, not just scientific, assets.
As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology during the Reagan Administration, the development and oversight of regulations implementing Bayh-Dole came under Dr. Merrifield’s jurisdiction. Quickly realizing the importance of the law, Dr. Merrifield explained to the White House that it was something the President should support. He also gave Norman Latker full support to push back against efforts to weaken the regulations.
Dr. Merrifield was a rare public servant who was not afraid to take risks and use his position to advance the public good. He was not intimidated when challenged by more powerful agencies and never backed down when things got rough. Without his leadership, Bayh-Dole would not have survived its infancy.
Joe is the executive director of the Bayh-Dole Coalition. As a professional staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee to Sen. Birch Bayh (D-IN), he played a key role in the successful passage of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 and its subsequent amendments.
He later served as the founding director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at the Department of Commerce, where he helped oversee the implementation of Bayh-Dole across federal agencies. He also chaired the Interagency Committee on Technology Transfer, where his work helped guarantee that discoveries made by visiting scientists in America’s laboratories and universities would be owned by the U.S. host organizations. And he served as president of the National Technology Transfer Center and vice president and general manager of the Intellectual Property Management Group at the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation.
Brian is chair of the IP Transactions and Licensing Group at Dinsmore, one of the nation’s largest law firms. A past president of the Licensing Executives Society of USA and Canada, he continues to serve LES as senior vice president for public policy. Brian earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Department of Chemistry, Rochester Institute of Technology, and a J.D. from Syracuse University, College of Law.
Chris is the executive director of the Alliance of U.S. Startups and Inventors for Jobs, a coalition of inventors, startups, investors, incubators, and research institutions that works to safeguard America’s innovation ecosystem. He is also a senior partner at ACG Advocacy, a bipartisan government affairs firm. Prior to joining ACG Advocacy, Chris served in the George W. Bush administration, where he worked as deputy chief of staff to the Secretary of Commerce and served as the nation’s first International Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. Chris received his B.A. from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from The George Washington University.
Karen is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. In that role, she regularly testifies before Congress on the key issues impacting entrepreneurs and the economy, engages with the President’s cabinet and key advisors, and has been appointed to numerous federal advisory boards. She also chairs the Small Business Roundtable and is a founding member of the World Entrepreneurship Forum. Karen earned a B.A. from SUNY Cortland and currently serves on the Cortland College Foundation Board.
Rose is the executive advisor of AIM-Hi Accelerator Fund, which bridges the gap between early-stage cancer research and the successful development of high-impact oncology products. A serial entrepreneur, she founded Binary Group, an IT consulting firm, as well as several other startups. She is a two-term Council Member of the National Women’s Business Council. She also serves as a Trustee to Excelsior College and was a past member of the Board of Directors at Women Impacting Public Policy. Rose earned two international MBAs from Georgetown University and ESADE (Spain).
Jon recently retired as Managing Director of the Yale Office of Cooperative Research. Under Jon’s direction, since 2000 more than 75 startups with over 42 billion in venture capital and another $7 billion in public equity financing based on Yale intellectual property have taken root in New Haven. Previously, Dr. Soderstrom was the Director of Program Development for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is a past president of AUTM and has testified before Congress on tech transfer issues. Jon received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University and his B.A. from Hope College.
Walt is Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. He previously served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and 16th Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a position to which he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. Dr. Copan is a distinguished leader with wide-ranging experience spanning large company, venture capital, entrepreneurial tech startup, U.S. government, non-profit, and other public sector settings. He earned undergraduate degrees and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Case Western Reserve University. Among the many accolades he has received, Walt was recognized with the 2022 Baldrige Foundation Award for Leadership Excellence in Government.
Stephen is Vice President for Global Innovation Policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and director of ITIF’s Center for Life Sciences Innovation. He also leads the Global Trade and Innovation Policy Alliance. His areas of expertise include science and technology policy, international competitiveness, trade, and manufacturing. Previously, Stephen co-founded Peer Insight, a research and consulting firm, worked at the New Service Development group at NASDAQ, and participated in founding the startups Brivo Systems and Lynx Capital. Stephen holds a B.S. from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, with an honors certificate from Georgetown’s Landegger International Business Diplomacy program.
Jennifer is a Director of Licensing at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), where she has worked for nineteen years. WARF manages the patenting and licensing of the University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW), the WiCell Research Institute, and the Morgridge Institute for Research. She is a Certified Licensing Professional and Patent Agent. She received a B.S. in botany and German literature and a Ph.D. in plant molecular biology from the UW. She lectures in the M.S. in Biotechnology program at the UW, serves as a trustee of the WiSys Technology Foundation, and is a founder and active in the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Women Inventors group.
Dr. Hamre served as the 26th U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense. Prior to holding that post, he was the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) from 1993 to 1997. He worked for ten years as a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and from 1978 to 1984, Dr. Hamre served in the Congressional Budget Office, where he became its Deputy Assistant Director for National Security and International Affairs. Dr. Hamre received his Ph.D., with distinction, from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., and his B.A., with high distinction, from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Robert is the Director of Research Security & Intellectual Property (RSIP) at the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR). He leads COGR’s response to university issues pertaining to research security and technology transfer policies and regulations. Prior to coming to COGR in April 2001, Robert worked at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for more than 30 years, serving in a variety of capacities. During the last eight years of his NSF career, he served as Director of the Division of Contracts, Policy, and Oversight. Robert holds a B.A. from Gettysburg College and a J.D. from Catholic University and is a member of the Bars of Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Andrei is a partner at Irell & Manella in Los Angeles. From 2018 to 2021, he served as the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a position to which he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. In this role, he was the principal adviser in the administration on domestic and international intellectual property policy matters. He previously taught patent law at UCLA School of Law, and he is a sought-after speaker and writer on issues related to IP and innovation. He received his J.D., M.S. in mechanical engineering, and B.S. in aerospace engineering from UCLA.
David is a partner at Cravath, Swaine, & Moore and is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost leaders in the field of intellectual property. From 2009 to 2013, David served as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where he advised the Obama administration on IP policy matters. He was instrumental in achieving the passage and implementation of the 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Prior to leading the USPTO, David served as IBM’s chief intellectual property lawyer from 2003 to 2009. In that capacity, he managed all global IP activities for IBM.
Scott is the Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor at GW Law School and founder of Kieff Strategies LLC. After nomination by President Obama and unanimous confirmation by the Senate, he was Commissioner of the U.S. International Trade Commission from 2013 to 2017. He also served as a senior government advisor during the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations on national security and economics. He was previously a professor of law and medicine at Washington University in Saint Louis and a Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. A former law clerk to U.S. Circuit Judge Giles S. Rich, and a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Penn Law School, he was elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2012.
Patrick is Senior Vice President of the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There, he oversees the center’s U.S. and international programs promoting intellectual property as an enabler of private sector investment in innovation and creativity. Previously, Patrick was Executive Director of the Chamber’s policy team for the Americas region, where he also led the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA) as Executive Vice President. Prior to joining the U.S. Chamber, Kilbride served the Bush administration as deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for Intergovernmental Affairs & Public Liaison. He is a graduate of The George Washington University.
Nichole is the Assistant Vice Chancellor and the Managing Director of the Office of Technology Management for Washington University in St. Louis (WashU). Under her leadership, WashU’s activity in technology transfer has grown exponentially by doubling or more the invention disclosures, licensing transactions, and startups formed. Dr. Mercier is strongly committed to ensuring that women and minorities engage in technology transfer and entrepreneurship, establishing Women in Innovation and Technology (WIT) at WashU and Equalize as a national program to enable academic women researchers to overcome barriers to entrepreneurship. She received her Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and M.A. and B.A. from Clark University.
Lesley has been the Director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Technology Licensing Office since July 2016 and Director of Catalysts in the newly formed MIT Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer since September 2019. She leads a team managing MIT’s intellectual assets and technology transfer process and works closely with faculty on complex research funding and capacity-building opportunities. She is a past president of the Board of Governors of Certified Licensing Professionals Inc, a former member of the Board of Directors of the Licensing Executive Society, and a current member of the Board of Cambridge Enterprise, U.K. A native of Scotland, she has a B.Ed., M.Ed, M.B.A., and is a Certified Licensing Professional.
Lita served as the Director of the Technology Licensing Office (TLO) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 25 years. During that time, the MIT TLO licensed over 500 startup companies based on MIT research technology. She also co-founded Praxis (now Praxis-Auril), a U.K. non-profit company for training tech transfer professionals. Today, Lita is a consultant for young startups licensing technology from universities and volunteers with MIT’s Sandbox Program to mentor undergraduate and graduate students launching startups. Lita earned a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering from MIT and an M.B.A. as a Sloan Fellow at the MIT Sloan School of management.
Gene is a patent attorney and a leading commentator on patent law and innovation policy. He has twice been named one of the top 50 most influential people in IP by Managing IP Magazine, in both 2014 and 2019. From 2017 to 2020, Gene has also been recognized by IAM Magazine as one of the top 300 IP strategists in the world, and in 2021 he was recognized by IAM in their inaugural Strategy 300 Global Leaders list. He founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and he is currently President & CEO of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Robin Rasor is Associate VP for Translation & Commercialization at Duke University. Previously, she was Managing Director of Licensing at the University of Michigan, Director of Licensing at The Ohio State University, and a former employee of Battelle Columbus Laboratories, a leading U.S. contract research firm. She received an M.S. in genetics from The Ohio State University and a B.S. in bacteriology and zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University. Robin has earned the CLP (Certified Licensing Professional) credential and is a past President and Chair of the Board of Governors of Certified Licensing Professionals, Inc. She is a past President of the AUTM Board of Trustees and in 2005, Robin was awarded the President’s Award for service to AUTM.
Niels developed the Stanford technology transfer model, which he later took to MIT, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco. His innovative model served as the inspiration for the Bayh-Dole Act. While at Stanford, Niels licensed the Cohen-Boyer invention, which is widely considered to have jumpstarted the U.S. biotechnology industry. Before his tech transfer career, Niels served as an officer on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and was employed by two Silicon Valley companies. He graduated from Oregon State University with a B.S. and B.A. in mechanical engineering. He is the former president of the Licensing Executives Society (United States and Canada) and the first recipient of their Award of Honor.
John is an advocate for the early-stage life science ecosystem. As Executive Director of Incubate, he works with key stakeholders in government and industry to ensure American biopharmaceutical innovation remains a cornerstone of our economy. He is the host of the Making Medicine podcast, an Aspen Institute Health Fellow, and was recognized as a leading force in Washington by The Hill. In addition, John advises Fortune 500 companies, leading trade associations, and breakthrough startups on navigating highly regulated industries. Prior to returning to Washington to build his career, John taught high school math as part of the Teach For America program and is a graduate of the College of William & Mary.
Steve is the Chief Executive Officer of AUTM, a 3,000+ member non-profit association focused on supporting and enhancing technology transfer globally, and oversees a cooperative partnership with the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer to support technology transfer for more than 300 federal labs across the United States. He has frequently presented on Capitol Hill and internationally on topics ranging from startup formation to the evolution of the profession and has worked with senior leaders worldwide on strategies to enhance the commercialization of early-stage inventions. Steve earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Virginia and is a registered U.S. Patent Agent.
Bob is the founder and owner of RPT Legal Strategies PC in San Francisco and Palo Alto, California, providing legal and business advice to companies and investors with respect to all aspects of intellectual property and related fields of endeavor. He serves as a Venture Advisor to New Enterprise Associates and as a patent law expert for the National Venture Capital Association. He has served as lead trial or appellate counsel in numerous IP cases involving a diverse array of technologies. Bob holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and was a member of the editorial board of the Georgetown Law Journal. He holds a B.S.E.E. from the University of Arizona and was elected to Tau Beta Pi.
Teri is Managing Director of IU Ventures at Indiana University and manages the Indiana Philanthropic Venture Fund. She is a member of the IU Ventures Board and Investment Committee; a member of the Dimension Mill/Velocities Investment Committee; Chair of the International Advisory Board of the OnCode Institute in the Netherlands; Advisor to Spin-out Denmark and the Technology Innovation Partnership at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; and an investor in underrepresented founders as an Investing Member of the Dimension Mill Flywheel Fund I, Portfolia Rising American I, II and FemTech II Funds, a Limited Partner of Sixty8 Capital, and a founding member of the IU Foundation Black Philanthropy Circle. Teri is a past President of AUTM.