30th Anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act

Remarks As Prepared

30th Anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act

Under Secretary Kappos

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Good evening, it's an absolute pleasure to be standing here with the USPTO staff and all of our distinguished guests tonight in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act. We are truly delighted that both Senator Bayh and Congressman Kastenmeier were both able to join us for this important occasion and we welcome you to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office here in Alexandria, VA.

I'd like to acknowledge and thank our partners, starting with the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith, School of Business (who also sponsored our Economics IP Research Agenda Conference today), the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the American Association of Universities. We genuinely appreciate your support.

As I look around the room I see many people who helped enact Bayh-Dole. You were the visionaries who did the hard work of building a framework for legislation that enabled university research to more quickly reach the marketplace and ensure that it was enacted into law. Senator Bayh, we are privileged to have you with us tonight. Your legislative skill and persistence made Bayh-Dole a reality. Congressman Bob Kastenmeier, it is an honor to have you join us tonight as well. Your work as Chairman of the House Judiciary IP Subcommittee enabled final passage of Bayh-Dole. The nation owes you both a debt of gratitude for that effort. As always, the story of bills like Bayh-Dole is inevitably a story of bi-cameral cooperation and bi-partisan compromise. Legislative discussions today in our area, including on Patent Reform - a set of important changes which have been discussed for nearly a decade now - could benefit from the model you both set.

Thirty years later, the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 has ushered in a an unprecedented era of commercializing inventions developed on university campuses which has spurred job creation, new products in the marketplace and investment in new companies. All of this has had a very direct impact in the biotechnology and information communications technologies arenas in particular -- an impressive achievement by any standards. And, countries around the world have looked to this legislation as a model for improving their own IP laws.

Bayh-Dole has managed to spark innovation while capturing the value of Federally funded research. And, all of the benefits brought forth by this legislation stand only to reaffirm the basic tenet rooted in our Constitution which is simply this - the issuance of patent rights promote advancements in both science and commerce. At the USPTO we take great pride in playing a central role in these advances.

An integral part of this commitment is providing the public with quality patents in an expeditious manner. During that last year, we have made a number of changes to aggressively address our patent application backlog, begin to hire the examiners we need, realize efficiencies in patent prosecution and increase and improve our outreach to our stakeholders. We'll continue to improve operations here at USPTO and know that this is critical to allowing universities and other stakeholders to seek investment, work collectively with start-up ventures and partnerships and capture the value of their IP.

America must continue to do everything in its power to remain at the forefront of cutting edge technology and innovation in an environment of ever increasing fierce competition. Ensuring that the Bayh-Dole Act continues to play an effective role is crucial to the success of our future as a country. And we all have a role in doing this -- we at the USPTO and our colleagues at the Department of Commerce, the Congress, the University community and other USPTO stakeholders working with universities. Those who appreciate the importance of intellectual property rights are in the best position to communicate their importance to the U.S. economy and to help identify the changes that may be needed for improvement. I'm reminded frequently that we have a very active user community that supports the work we do here at USPTO and again am very pleased that many of you could join us tonight.

So, in closing, this is not only a celebration but a reminder that should look to the future. This 30th anniversary reminds us that legislation like Bayh-Dole can be enacted and have a tremendous impact on the use of intellectual property rights and economic growth in this country. The 112th Congress will present such an opportunity to further legislation, like Patent Reform.

Thank you all for joining us tonight. I'd like to turn now to Senator Bayh to make a few remarks.