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Coalition aims to celebrate, protect Bayh-Dole Act

A diverse group of research and scientific organizations, as well as those directly involved in commercializing new products, on February 19 launched the Bayh-Dole 40 coalition to celebrate and protect the legislation commonly known as the “Bayh-Dole Act.”

The Bayh-Dole Act—formally the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act) was enacted in 1980. Since then, it has empowered laboratories, universities, small businesses, and nonprofits that have received federal funding to retain ownership of any patented inventions — and license those patents to private firms, who then turn promising ideas into real-life products that improve peoples’ lives.

Thanks to Bayh-Dole, more than 200 new therapies — including drugs and vaccines — have been created since 1980. The legislation has also bolstered U.S. economic output by $1.3 trillion, supported 4.2 million jobs, and led to more than 11,000 start-up companies.

“Bayh-Dole made the United States the engine of global innovation,” said Bayh-Dole 40 founder and executive director Joseph Allen, who helped enact the law as a member of Senator Birch Bayh’s U.S. Senate Judiciary staff. “The Act reinvigorated research and development in America, spawning breakthrough discoveries ranging from high-yield crops to advanced medicines.”

Bayh-Dole 40’s founding members span the entire U.S. innovation ecosystem. The coalition will educate lawmakers to ensure the Act is utilized in the way Senators Birch Bayh and Bob Dole envisioned.

“Misusing Bayh-Dole to undermine the existing framework for public-private technology transfer and development, as some lawmakers are suggesting, would jeopardize the future of U.S. life-sciences innovation,” said Stephen Ezell, Vice President of Global Innovation Policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. “We look forward to engaging Congress on these issues to ensure the United States remains a life-sciences R&D powerhouse.”

For more information go to www.bayhdole40.org.

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