AUTM Updates

Join the Fight Against Misuse of March-In Rights

With the unveiling of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) draft interagency framework for march in rights, one of the most challenging threats to our profession is now on our doorstep. The Bayh-Dole Act’s march-in provision allows the federal government to take back patent rights for federally funded inventions under very specific circumstances. The "draft interagency guidance framework" proposed by NIST seeks to substantially increase the government's march-in authority.  AUTM believes this misguided effort to expand march-in rights will stifle innovation by creating significant uncertainty in licensing of all federally funded inventions—not just drugs.

AUTM is fighting back against this unnecessary and potentially dangerous proposal, and we need your help. During the framework's official Request for Information (RFI) period, every one of us has the opportunity to let our voice be heard. But we must act quickly: All comments must be received by February 6. 

Here's how you can make a difference to the tech transfer profession:
  • Review AUTM's comments and the other resources below.
  • Use AUTM's comments as a guide as you craft your own comments, using examples from your institution. Feel free to borrow from any of the language you see in the resources assembled here. 
  • Attend the January 29 AUTM webinar on this topic, and bring your questions.  
    • Find the PowerPoint from the January 29 AUTM webinar here.
  • Post your own comments on the RFI before February 6.
    • Go to and enter NIST–2023–0008 in the search field.
    • Click the “Comment Now!” icon and complete the required fields.
    • Enter or attach your comments.
  • Share your comments with your government relations team, which will pass them on to your Congressional delegation.
  • Spread the word and share this page with colleagues, tech transfer partners, friends, family, followers and anyone else in your network who cares about innovation. 

Other Resources Focused on March-In Rights

It's Not Just About Drug Companies: Draft Framework on March-In Rights Has Awakened a Sleeping Giant


Joe Allen
Guest Columnist

While the pending “Draft Interagency Guidance Framework for Considering the Exercise of March-In Rights” issued by the Department of Commerce poses the gravest threat to the Bayh-Dole Act since its passage, it’s also done some good.  It’s alerted an incredibly broad network of stakeholders that it isn’t just drug makers who are being attacked—it’s everyone involved in commercializing federally funded inventions.

For many years, defenders of the Bayh-Dole Act have been warning that attempts to misuse the march-in provision of the law to impose government price controls would unleash the furies on anyone developing a federally funded patent or founding a startup company based on academic inventions. Yet because the critics’ rhetoric always focuses on drug prices, that claim wasn’t taken seriously—until now.

As the word spreads that this attack isn’t limited to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) but applies equally to every federal agency, those who thought they were safely in the grandstands now find themselves on the playing field.

 Read More!    

NIST March-In Proposal is a Call to Arms for Academic Tech Transfer 

Mike Waring
AUTM Advocacy and Alliances Coordinator

Scottish poet Robert Burns once wrote the famous phrase “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Two hundred-plus years later, that sentence brilliantly describes the Request for Information (RFI) recently issued by the National Insitute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding potential changes to the way march-in rules can be applied against federally funded inventions. This RFI is based on assumptions that are dead wrong – and they are dangerous for the future of American innovation and competitiveness.
In its zeal to go after what it believes is “unreasonable” pricing, mostly for some drugs, the Administration wants to allow the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and every federal research agency increased authority to “march in” and take back the patent or copyright for federally funded inventions, using pricing as an excuse.

If ever there were a “call to arms” for tech transfer, this is it. AUTM will be weighing in with strong comments urging NIST not to move forward with this proposal, and every AUTM member needs to do the same. The deadline for comments is February 6. (AUTM has requested that the comment period be extended, but we should not assume that request will be granted.)

 Read More!    

Fortune Commentary:
March-In Revision Would Undo Tech Transfer Progress at HBCUs


Almesha Campbell
AUTM Board Chair

Just when people of color are finally getting a chance to show how innovative and entrepreneurial they are, federal plans to weaken academic intellectual property rights would ensure future entrepreneurs never get that chance.

 Read More!