Bayh-Dole Reform and the Progress of Biomedicine

39 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2002

See all articles by Arti K. Rai

Arti K. Rai

Duke University School of Law; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Rebecca S. Eisenberg

University of Michigan Law School


As proprietary claims have proliferated in biomedical research, the costs that such claims impose on R&D have become more salient. At the same time, patents on biomedical research plainly offer important social benefits in the form of motivating private investment in invention and product development. The presumption that patent incentives are necessary to promote research and development has less force, however, for inventions arising from government-sponsored research than for inventions arising from purely private funding. It is therefore important that decisions about patenting the results of government-sponsored research be made on the basis of a careful balancing of the costs and benefits that such patenting will entail for future R&D. Current law entrusts these decisions to the unbridled discretion of institutions, such as universities, that receive federal funds. But universities may be inadequately motivated to take the social costs of their proprietary claims into account in deciding what to patent. A more sensible approach would give research sponsors, such as NIH, more authority to restrict proprietary claims on publicly-funded research when such proprietary claims are more likely to retard than promote subsequent R&D.

Suggested Citation

Rai, Arti Kaur and Eisenberg, Rebecca S., Bayh-Dole Reform and the Progress of Biomedicine. Available at SSRN: or

Arti Kaur Rai (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

Rebecca S. Eisenberg

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics