Enacted on December 12, 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act (P.L. 96-517, Patent and Trademark Act Amendments of 1980) is considered landmark legislation that has transformed the nation’s system of technology transfer. Similar laws have now been adopted globally.
The Act created a uniform patent policy among the many federal agencies that fund research, enabling small businesses and non-profit organizations, including universities, to retain title to inventions made under federally-funded research programs. This legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Birch Bayh of Indiana and Robert Dole of Kansas. The Bayh-Dole Act has been especially instrumental in encouraging universities to participate in technology transfer activities.
Under Bayh-Dole, universities are required to ensure certain obligations are met, including making efforts to protect (when appropriate) and commercialize the discoveries, submitting progress reports to the funding agency, giving preference to small businesses that demonstrate sufficient capability, sharing any resulting revenues with the inventors, and using the balance of royalties after expenses to fund education and research activities. The Bayh-Dole Act is credited with stimulating interest in tech transfer activities and generating increased research, commercialization, educational opportunities, and economic development in the United States.
Please find more information about the Act here.