Category Archives: Freedom

Goodyear and use of a gateway patent to control a big Invention

In Medical Monopoly Joseph Gabriel describes how Charles Goodyear used patents to lock out competitors from using his process for “vulcanizing” rubber without a license. We will use Gabriel’s account to consider alternatives to the prevailing university narrative about how … Continue reading

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The Faculty Stack, 4: Frontiers Science and Other Science

We are working toward the faculty stack. To get there, however, we need context. We started with Vannevar Bush’s problem–how to connect federal resources to the free play of free intellects to expand the frontiers of science. The new awareness … Continue reading

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The Faculty Stack, 3: Linking Federal Resources with Free Play

We are working through the idea that faculty independence is an important element in the justification to push federal funding for research activities to universities. For Vannevar Bush, the idea was that the frontiers of science were best explored by … Continue reading

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The faculty stack, 2: Basic Research and IP Policy

The idea I will pursue here is that university faculty represent a distinct and important kind of discoverer–researcher, investigator, noodler, gadgeteer, irrelevanteur, loon. Our search for what we cannot imagine depends in having at least some really capable folks out … Continue reading

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The VPR Letters, No. 4

Dear Vice Provost for Research, It’s been a while, and I thought I would drop you another note to help you with your management of university-hosted intellectual property. I once was contacted by a vice provost of research at a … Continue reading

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The Turning Point in Federal Patent Policy

1971. Here’s where things started to go bad. In 1963, President Kennedy issued a memorandum setting forth executive branch patent policy. When the federal government acquired inventions, the policy stipulated that patents would be made available “through dedication or licensing”–that … Continue reading

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Effective University Technology Transfer

“Technology transfer” is not so obvious an idea as it may seem. There’s technology transfer from developed nations to “developing” nations. There’s technology transfer from one industry to another. There’s technology transfer from applications in the military to civilian uses. … Continue reading

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Why dealing in patent monopolies is bad for university research

[updated to add some comments among the elements of the list] Bayh-Dole expands the opportunity for universities to deal in patent monopolies on inventions made in federally supported work. Bayh-Dole does not require such behavior, does not give any special … Continue reading

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Vannever Bush on the control of scientists

Here’s Vannever Bush on the institutional desire to control scientists: There is nothing more deadly than control of the activities of scientists and engineers by men who do not really understand, but think they do or must at least give … Continue reading

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WARF, Vitamin D, and the Public Interest, 1

In the 1940s, WARF was basking in the income from licensing its flagship patents–on a way to irradiate food products to produce in them vitamin D. (For an interesting account with lots of details, see Rima D. Apple, a University … Continue reading

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