The Growth of Patenting and Licensing by U.S. Universities: An Assessment of the Effects of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980
Posted: 13 Dec 2006
Growth during the 1980s and 1990s in patenting and licensing by American universities is frequently asserted to be a direct consequence of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. However, there has been little empirical analysis of the effects of this legislation. This paper uses previously unexploited data to consider the effects of Bayh-Dole at three leading universities: the University of California, Stanford University, and Columbia University. Two of these universities (California and Stanford) were active in patenting and licensing before Bayh-Dole, and one (Columbia) became active only after its passage. The evidence suggests that Bayh-Dole was only one of several important factors behind the rise of university patenting and licensing activity. Bayh-Dole also appears to have had little effect on the content of academic research at these universities. A comparison of these three universities reveals remarkable similarities in their patent and licensing portfolios 10 years after the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act. The concluding section raises several questions about the effects of Bayh-Dole and related policy shifts that are not addressed by this analysis but that deserve attention in future research.
Keywords: Bayh-Dole Act, University Research, Technology Transfer, Patenting, Licensing
JEL Classification: O3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation