Association of University Technology Managers
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The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing research to life by supporting and enhancing the global academic technology transfer profession through education, professional development, partnering and advocacy.
The association was founded in 1974 as the Society of University Patent Administrators to help move research from the lab and into the marketplace for public use and benefit. The association's first meeting in 1974 had 75 participants. AUTM has grown to more than 3,300 members worldwide and drew more than 1,900 attendees to the AUTM 2015 Annual Meeting.
The enactment of the Bayh-Dole Act harmonized federal policy with regard to management of inventions made by non-profit organizations in the course of federally funded research.
Prior to passage of the Bayh-Dole Act, universities were able to claim patent rights by means of specially negotiated Institutional Patent Agreements, which were agency-specific. Most government agencies, however, claimed ownership of inventions made with federal funds. Very few of the inventions for which the government obtained patents were being commercialized. By 1978, the federal government had acquired more than 28,000 patents, but fewer than 5% had been licensed to industry. There was little incentive for universities to manage such intellectual property or for companies and investors to risk the capital necessary to move these ideas out of the lab, through development and into the market.
The rationale behind the Act was that universities would be more effective than the federal government in using the patent system to encourage practical application of government funded inventions, partner with industry on matters of research and innovation, and enhance participation of small business. When Bayh-Dole was enacted on December 12, 1980, the intellectual capacity of researchers was melded with the entrepreneurial skills of the free enterprise system. Following passage of the act, the number of patents granted to universities jumped exponentially. Prior to Bayh-Dole, fewer than 250 patents were issued to universities per year. Just a few decades later the AUTM Licensing Activity Survey reported that in fiscal year 2014 alone there were 6,363 patents issued to universities.
As a result of the Bayh-Dole Act, many universities and other non-profit research institutions have developed technology licensing offices to manage inventions, patents, and licensing activities. AUTM provides support to these offices and to technology licensing professionals through training programs, conferences, and publications.
The Bayh-Dole Act was borne out of need to revitalize a sluggish economy that was losing ground to international competitors. The act has since become instrumental in accelerating commercialization of federally funded research, developing new industries, and creating an innovation economy. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) released a report describing the profound impact universities have made on the economy. For the 18 years studied, the report shows that university/non-profit licensing supported as many as 3.8 million "person years of employment". The impact on U.S. gross industry output was as much as $1.18 trillion and the impact on gross domestic product was as much as $518 billion in 2009 dollars.
Today, the association claims more than 3,300 members worldwide, representing managers of intellectual property from more than 300 universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals around the world as well as numerous businesses and government organizations.
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- Robert, Hardy (July 9, 2010). "University Technology Transfer: Questions and Answers" (PDF). Council On Government Relations (COGR). Retrieved December 13, 2015 – via COGR.
- "AUTM U.S. Licensing Activity Survey: FY2014". www.autm.net. Association of University Technology Managers. September 9, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
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