The CHIPS and Science Act, supporting U.S. semiconductor production and ramping up research and development across the board, passed Congress in August 2022 and was signed into law by President Biden.
The legislation authorized the National Science Foundation to create new programs specifically aimed at technology transfer. AUTM released a statement of support following the passing of the act. Indeed, AUTM helped create the initial effort to have these provisions included when work began on the legislation in 2021.
Upon passage, AUTM then urged Congress to appropriate sufficient funds in FY ’23 for NSF to allow it to begin offering these new tech transfer programs. In December 2022, Congress appropriated an extra $1 billion for NSF. That effort will continue when Congress next considers the NSF budget for FY ’24 later in 2023.
The Association of American Medical Colleges, Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and Council on Governmental Relations joined AUTM in a statement of support for the Act and efforts to foster greater diversity and inclusion within the innovation ecosystem.
STRONGER Patents Act
These bills are designed to address shortfalls with the inter partes review process at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. They would make important changes to align the Patent Trial and Appeals Board to work more like a federal court; restore injunctive relief; and would also target unfair and deceptive demand letters. AUTM supports this legislation.
Inventor Protection Act
This bill attempts to redress many of the court decisions that have limited patent holders’ rights to protect their patents.
Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act
This legislation would end the inter partes review process at the patent and trademark office entirely, among other actions.
This legislation targets those individuals who attempt to shake down small mom-and-pop businesses with unfair and deceptive demand letters. AUTM supports this legislation.
|2013 - 2016
During the 113th and 114th Congresses, both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees considered legislation that would make further changes to patent law beyond what was included in the America Invents Act in 2011.
AUTM — in conjunction with sister organizations AAU, APLU, COGR and AAMC — opposed such legislation for a number of reasons. Most notably, the legislation included provisions providing for “loser pays” and “joinder” in cases where the patent holder lost their bid to stop alleged infringement. Higher education groups successfully argued that such provisions were onerous and would lead to university patents becoming unenforceable, and therefore not worth investing in.
Thankfully, these efforts in Congress fizzled out, in part due to successful advocacy on the part of higher education groups working in conjunction with other organizations and companies who were strong supporters of patent rights holders.
America Invents Act
On September 16, 2011, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act was signed into law making significant changes to U.S. patent practice. Named for its lead sponsors, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the Act switches the U.S. patent system from a "first to invent" to a "first inventor to file" system, eliminates interference proceedings and develops post-grant opposition.
The law that launched a thousand products. Enacted on December 12, 1980, the Bayh-Dole 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. Discover the tangible impact this legislation has had over the past 30 years by visiting AUTM’s Better World Project.