Here’s an alternative guide to Bayh-Dole. There’s a whole book in here, but I’ve left out the chapter and verse documentation and the historical evidence and interviews and the like. This is not the version of Bayh-Dole you will read in university technology licensing office brochures. But how much do you believe of anything written by institutional administrators in a brochure?
The Purpose of Bayh-Dole
The purpose of the Bayh-Dole Act was and still is to enable pharmaceutical companies to gain monopoly control over discoveries in medicinal chemistry made at universities and supported by federal government grants.
An Inside Job
Bayh-Dole was an inside job within the NIH, with the help of university patent brokers, especially WARF. To give pharmaceutical companies such monopolies, the NIH and WARF had to disable PHS patent policy and the executive branch patent policy on which the PHS policy was based. They had to put their changes out of reach of the PHS. So they drafted Bayh-Dole to supersede executive branch patent policy by federal statute. Norman Latker at the NIH had someone else type the final draft of the bill to prevent it from being traced to his own typewriter.
An Arbitrary Patent Policy
Bayh-Dole replaces a uniform executive branch patent policy with an arbitrary one, making a single approach to research inventions general across all federal agencies, all forms of research contracting, all contractors (but for large companies), all industries, and all approaches to the use of patents.
Universities as a Front
Universities are used as a front because they appear to be acting in the public interest and (it was argued, against the evidence) will do a better job than the federal government in promoting the use of inventions made with federal support. Continue reading