In today’s global marketplace, survival depends on innovation and time-to-market. In response, companies are continuously looking for ways to innovate more quickly and more efficiently. This has resulted in the concept of “open innovation” where successful firms realize that not all components of a new product need to come from within, that they can accelerate their own efforts by sourcing a part of the required technology externally.
Every year, our nation makes a significant investment in federal research and development (R&D) to promote science; advance the nation’s health, prosperity, and welfare; and improve the security of our borders and interests abroad. To maximize the benefits of that investment, Congress began enacting legislation over three decades ago to promote the transfer of federal research results to the private sector, academia, and other nonprofit and government entities, where technologies and products derived from those results can be further developed and put into use. 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.
The U.S. Government is the largest single source of funding for R&D in the world, spending well over $500 billion each year in its numerous federal laboratories, in university research centers, and in competitively awarded contracts with private sector companies — large and small. Although each federal agency targets R&D funding to meet its own needs, more and more of the technology coming out of these government sponsored programs is being "recycled" by industry to provide the foundation for a host of commercial spin-offs.
Recycling of Government-Funded Technology