University Technology Transfer - Profit Centers or Black Holes: Moving Toward a More Productive University Innovation Ecosystem Policy
Posted: 20 Jun 2019
Date Written: 2016
A great deal has been written over the years commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of the current system by which federal research funding has not produced the ideal results in terms of commercialization of inventions which are developed from such funding. The Bayh-Doyle Act was enacted in an attempt to provide a single uniform national policy which would cut through the government bureaucracy and encourage collaboration between universities and private industry to ensure that federally funded, commercially viable inventions were brought to market in an efficient manner. The question remains however, with the myriad of competing political and economic interests, can any legislation effectively address the myriad of conflicting interests and optimize such a complex system?
This article looks at the various interest groups that provided amicus briefs in the 2011 Supreme Court decision in Stanford v. Roche, which highlights the diverse interests that attempted to weigh in on the case in an effort to ensure that their individual concerns were protected. As is the case with all legislation, it is difficult if not impossible to draw the proper balance between such interest groups when the ultimate objective is to develop a policy which is intended to promote the welfare of society in general, otherwise such optimal results would never be achieved.
This article will provide a brief historical background on how our current policy has evolved over time, focusing on Roche to highlight the competing interests of the members of those organizations that are intimately involved in the research and commercialization process which bring discoveries that lead to inventions that benefit all of mankind. The articles will conclude by arguing that policy changes can and are being made to improve the commercialization process without the need for major legislative reform. What is required however is for collaboration to take place at the university level, with the keen understanding of the competing interests and economic realities particular to the local or regional environment in order to develop well-focused management strategies which form commercialization ecosystems to achieve the desired results. This is not a one size fits all proposition, but a coordinated effort that will take on many different forms depending on the particular university setting.
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