Taking Stock of AUTM's Advocacy Wins at the End of an Impactful Year

Mike Waring
AUTM Advocacy and Alliances Coordinator

It’s been a busy year again for policy matters that have confronted AUTM and its allies in Washington. We have seen Congress paying more attention to the process by which we collectively move ideas from the lab to the marketplace, but next year will be an important one for our nation and much work lies ahead.
AUTM has been active and engaged throughout 2023 on a host of policy issues—from Executive Orders regarding domestic manufacturing to legislation to improve the inter partes review process at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to tax rules causing problems for SBIR and STTR participants. AUTM advocacy has continue to grow as the number of issues affecting tech transfer has also grown.
As we continue to battle China and other countries for innovation leadership, AUTM has worked to point out that bad decisions in Washington can compromise those efforts.  More members of Congress are paying attention, and by working collectively with the other higher education associations in DC, AUTM has earned a place at the table to discuss and negotiate potential legislation.
Similarly, AUTM has worked closely to file comments and provide other input to key research agencies, including USPTO, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. AUTM has made sure the views of tech transfer are heard—and even the White House has engaged with AUTM on a number of these concerns.
Now it’s time to look ahead to 2024. We will see lots of political activity for both parties ahead of the next presidential election in November. And while the discord in DC likely will prevent many bills from crossing the finish line, we will need to stay ever vigilant to oppose any legislation that could impair the ability of academic and research institutions to move technologies forward. Legislation we support can even be advanced in 2024 for potential passage in the next Congress.  
Many tech transfer offices do an annual report summarizing the successes achieved in the past year. I would encourage all of you to share copies of those reports with your federal relations officers and urge them to pass on these success stories to your representatives in Washington.  This is a great educational opportunity to make the case that technology transfer has reaped huge benefits for our nation for decades, but it will only continue to do so with strong patent protections and reasonable oversight rules from the federal government. 
As 2023 nears its end, let me thank all of you for your continued interest in policy matters. Your jobs are busy protecting intellectual property, finding industry partners and getting campus support for the work your office does. But any time you can spend educating your federal relations team about the policy issues in Washington and the work you do will be time well spent.