Bayh-Dole Coalition Launches Digital Library Chronicling the Creation and Legacy of the Bayh-Dole Act

Bayh-Dole Coalition Launches Digital Library Chronicling the Creation and Legacy of the Bayh-Dole Act

Washington, D.C. (May 17, 2023) – Today, the Bayh-Dole Coalition unveiled a digital library containing key historical documents that chronicle the creation and legacy of the Bayh-Dole Act. The 1980 law fostered critical public-private R&D partnerships, which have made the United States the undisputed global leader in innovation. 

“This archive is critical to capturing the true history behind the Bayh-Dole Act,” said Joseph P. Allen, Executive Director of the Bayh-Dole Coalition. “Having these documents, reports, and Congressional records readily available will help prevent policymakers, the media, and the public from being misled by revisionist accounts seeking to undermine this inspired legislation.”

The library traces the evolution of government patent policy from the Roosevelt administration on, showing the step-by-step progression which led to the enactment of the Bayh-Dole Act — which the Economist Technology Quarterly called “Possibly the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the past half century.” 

The collection includes President Kennedy and Nixon’s memoranda on patent policy, the U.S. Senate hearings and debates on the Bayh-Dole Act, and all petitions filed under Bayh-Dole’s march-in provision to invalidate patent licensing agreements signed between federally-funded universities and private-sector companies. That history notably proves that march-in rights were never intended to give the government the power to forcibly relicense successfully-commercialized inventions on the basis of price.

The library also documents the Department of Energy’s opposition to the law due to its decentralization of technology management from the Washington bureaucracy to the universities, federal laboratories, and small companies making inventions with its funding. That struggle continues to this day.

“Examining the building blocks of U.S. patent policy and impacts of past legislative and executive decisions is critical to our understanding of the Bayh-Dole Act and intellectual property policy today,” said Allen. “Our library contains documents dating back to World War II, illustrating why the Bayh-Dole Act was badly needed to help revive American innovation — and why preserving the law is so important to our future.” 

About the Bayh-Dole Coalition: The Bayh-Dole Coalition is a diverse group of research and scientific organizations, as well as those directly involved in commercializing new products, dedicated to protecting the Bayh-Dole Act and educating policymakers about the positive impacts of the legislation.