University of Iowa researchers may have recently heard about new regulations related to the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act around Intellectual Property (IP) for universities that receive federal grants.

 

The regulation change is small but important. It requires universities to put in writing what was already established by the Bayh-Dole Act, which is that universities own inventions that their researchers make using federal grant funds. Prior to 1980, any invention made with such funds belonged to the federal government and little was done to make such inventions available for commercialization. 

 

As it happens, the UI is ahead of this curve. Its revised IP Policy, approved by the university last summer, already mandates this language be put in writing in various documents that cross the desks of federal grant recipients: appointment and re-appointment letters, grant-routing forms, conflict-of-interest statements, and others. 

 

“This language puts us in good shape to comply with new regulations for universities that receive federal grants,” said Marie Kerbeshian, Assistant Vice President in the Office of Research and Economic Development and Executive Director of the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF).  

 

As you may know, the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act gives universities ownership of inventions that their researchers make using federal grant funds.  Prior to 1980, any invention made with such funds belonged to the federal government and little was done to make such inventions available for commercialization. 

 

The Bayh-Dole Act gave rise to technology transfer efforts across American universities, and it was cited by the Economist in 2002 as “possibly the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the last half century….”  In exchange for ownership of federally funded inventions, universities have to comply with a number of regulations regarding how universities protect inventions, license them, and report their efforts to the federal granting agencies. The new round of regulations includes a requirement for university researchers to agree in writing to assign these inventions to the university.

 

Those with questions about this new language, the Bayh-Dole Act, or any other aspect of commercializing university inventions are encouraged to contact the UIRF, the university’s technology transfer organization.

 

The IP revisions are part of a broader effort by the university to streamline and accelerate the process of turning ideas into new technologies, medical treatments, and industrial applications.

 

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world. More at http://research.uiowa.edu, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover