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The Bayh-Dole Act and its effect on research

The Bayh-Dole Act is the federal law that enables CURF's core technology transfer function at Clemson.  

Enacted in 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act (pronounced "buy-dole") was Congress' solution to unify the policy amongst various federal agencies relating to inventions arising out of federally sponsored research.  Prior to the Act, relatively few federally funded inventions were successfully commercialized.  According to Walter Copan, Under Secretary of Commerce at NIST, in the 40 years since Bayh-Dole has been in place, the U.S. has seen more than $1.3 trillion in direct economic impact including over 4.2 million jobs and 11,000 new startup companies (source).

The key concept of the Bayh-Dole Act includes decentralized ownership of inventions arising out of federally funded research projects.  Research institutions are allowed to own and commercialize these inventions with the federal government retaining certain rights of use.

In exchange for ownership, a university must first disclose the federally funded invention to the sponsoring agency and determine whether it wishes to elect title and seek patent protection within the defined statutory period.  At Clemson, this determination is made through CURF's opportunity assessment process.  

Once a patent is filed, CURF will pursue commercialization of the invention and must regularly report the status and utilization of the invention to the funding agency.  Under the Bayh-Dole Act, income received by CURF through licensing of any invention must be shared between the inventors and utilized by Clemson for scientific research and education.  CURF must also show a preference for licensing subject inventions to small businesses.

By utilizing our inventor portal, Clemson researchers can easily disclose technologies developed under federally funded projects.  CURF will review the disclosure and work with the researcher to determine whether the technology rises to the level of a subject invention that requires reporting under Bayh-Dole.

We encourage Clemson creators to reach out and discuss potential inventions with our CURF team.  If you have any questions, please utilize our intake form and your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate team member for follow-up and further discussion.

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