Lou Berneman

Lou Berneman

Don’t kill the goose laying golden eggs

Spread the love

By Lou Berneman

For years, China has stolen hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American companies’ intellectual property — everything from patented software code and computer chips to prescription drug formulas and weapons systems.

Thankfully, the Biden administration is making a concerted effort to curtail this theft. Federal investigators now open a new counterintelligence case against Chinese actors every twelve hours on average.

But while administration officials fight China’s high-tech piracy with one hand, they’re threatening Americans’ intellectual property with the other hand. They are threatening to undermine a 42-year-old law that has enabled universities to effectively move research discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. This academic-to-industry “tech transfer” process is a foundation of pharmaceutical and high-tech innovation — and upending it would kill the goose that has been laying golden eggs for four decades.

Lou Berneman

Lou Berneman

That law, commonly known as the Bayh-Dole Act, allows universities to patent discoveries made, in part, with federal research funds and license those patents to startups and established companies capable of turning the discoveries into real-world products.

Before Congress passed that transformative bipartisan legislation in 1980 — with the support of then-Senator Joe Biden — the federal government retained ownership of patents resulting from taxpayer-funded research. Not unexpectedly, it did a poor job of licensing those patents to the private sector. Of 28,000 patents held by the federal government before Bayh-Dole passed, fewer than 5% were licensed for development.

One study estimates that by putting universities in charge of this “technology transfer” process, Bayh-Dole spurred the creation of some 15,000 startup companies and brought nearly 6.5 million jobs to our economy — boosting economic output by $1.9 trillion overall.

Despite this overwhelming success, dozens of U.S. lawmakers now want to use a provision of the Bayh-Dole Act, its so-called “march-in” rights, to upend the incentive system the law created.

Their goal is to reduce the price of certain medicines that originated from discoveries in university labs. Their intentions may be admirable, but their methods are misguided.

They claim that if startup and established drug companies have licensed patents from universities that benefited from federal grants, the government forever retains the legal authority under Bayh-Dole to “march in” and revoke those licenses if officials decide the medicines that result are unreasonably expensive. The government could then re-license the patents to other drug companies that promise to sell the medicines more cheaply.

As Senators Birch Bayh and Bob Dole themselves attested in 2002, the Bayh-Dole Act doesn’t allow the government to “march-in” and relicense patents merely because officials don’t like the price of a commercially available product.

Giving government officials such sweeping authority would defeat the purpose of the law — which was to spur innovation by putting universities, rather than bureaucrats, in charge of the technology transfer process. Allowing the government to rescind patent licenses by marching in will curtail investments in startup and established companies. The chilling effect on high-tech R&D, public and private, would extend well beyond pharmaceuticals. It would undermine the United States as the global leader in academic-to-industry technology transfer and the development of new technologies.

The Biden administration is wise to combat IP theft by the Chinese and others. Now, the administration needs to stand up to its allies in Congress seeking to undermine American innovators that transform university research into real-world inventions.

Lou Berneman is founding partner emeritus of Osage University Partners. He served as managing director of UPenn CTT, and president of AUTM.

Local News

The Worth Public Library, 6917 W. 111th St., has a free Seed Library available to patrons. (Supplied photo)

Worth Library offers seeds for free

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White A seed library collects and stores seeds and shares them with members of the community for free. Similar to a normal library, gardeners borrow seeds from the seed library at planting time. At the end of the growing seasons, they save seeds from the plants and return a portion of…

Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer joins Girl Scout Gold Award winners (from left) Maddie DeBleyzer, Aine Kelly and Lilly O'Dea during the village board meeting on Tuesday night. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizza eyes May opening in Oak Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Paisans Pizzeria is a step closer to opening in Oak Lawn with the approval of a liquor license for the establishment that will be part of the Stony Creek Promenade. Plans for the restaurant were originally approved at an Oak Lawn Village Board meeting in March of 2022. Tom Phelan,…

Palos Park resident Nick Hoffman said his patience is wearing out with noise and parking problems caused by the Palos Islamic Center.

Palos Park residents, mosque reps discuss noise issues at council meeting

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva What could have been an explosive situation was actually quite civil. Some Palos Park residents were angry about loud activity and behavior of some members of the Palos Islamic Center the past two years and sounded off at the April 8 village council meeting. Fresh on their minds was noise…

The Obbie’s Pizza sign will remain a familiar sight on Archer Avenue. Taking time out for a photo are new owner John Caputi; his son, Giovanni; and Obbie’s longtime managers, Jim Triak and Jeff Twaragowski. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

Comings & Goings: Obbie’s Pizza to stay ‘unique and delicious’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Archer Avenue’s long-time king of pizzerias will continue to rule. Same recipes at Obbie’s Pizza, 6654 W. Archer. Same pizza and ingredients. Same pasta, broasted chicken, shrimp, perch, Italian beef/sausage/meatball sandwiches, sides and pop. Same seasoned, Middleby Marshall pizza oven built in 1947—the type of pizza oven every restaurant owner…

stickney health district logo

Stickney Public Health confirms measles case in Bedford Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Stickney Public Health District has confirmed that a person with measles related to the ongoing situation in the City of Chicago was at the Walmart Supercenter at 7050 S. Cicero Ave. in Bedford Park on Friday, March 22, roughly between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. Anybody who…

Endless Summerfest in La Grange’s Gordon Park will not be held this year, sponsors have announced. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

La Grange cancels Endless Summerfest over higher costs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch It turns out the summer is not endless, at least not in La Grange. Endless Summerfest, a three-day event held the first weekend in August at Gordon Park for many years, will not be held this year. The cancelation was announced Tuesday in a joint new release from the La…

regional orland park police logo

Midlothian man arrested for Orland Park carjacking

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom wire reports The Orland Park Police Department announced the arrest of a suspect in a vehicular hijacking that occurred on the evening of April 3. Shawn Flores, a 44-year-old Midlothian resident, faces charges following his apprehension on April 4. The incident began when a male victim was forcibly removed from his vehicle…

big PoliceLights1

Blotter: Evergreen Park police issue scam alert

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Evergreen Park Police Department is warning the public of an ongoing scam where a caller claims to be an Evergreen Park Police Officer, and instructs the individual to send money in order to avoid criminal charges. In some versions of this scam, the offenders tell individuals they missed a court date related…

The Palos South eighth-grade Girls Volleyball Team is: Top row (left to right) Dorian Urquizo, Annika Hock, Maja Pszczola, Elaina Yasin, Hannah Koenig, Makaleigh Terry, Maya Surdel, Brooklyn Parr, Maggie Purtill, Coach Marty Duggan. Bottom row (left to right) are Raliyah Bruce, Sarah Cairo, Sofia Wilson, Katy Zumerchik, Khadija Faisal, Alexa Morales. (Supplied photos)

Palos South eighth-grade girls volleyballers go undefeated

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports Palos South’s eighth-grade girls’ volleyball team finished first in the Southwest Interscholastic Conference (SWIC) on March 9, completing an undefeated season with a record of 19-0. This is the fifth straight year that Coach Marty Duggan has led the Cardinals to a first-place finish in the tournament, which was held…

Members of the Moraine Valley Community College Speech and Debate Team are competing at nationals. (Supplied photo)

Moraine Valley Speech and Debate Team headed to nationals to defend title

Spread the love

Spread the loveWhen the Moraine Valley Community College Speech and Debate Team heads to the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament in Reno, Nevada, for nine days this month, they’ll have a target on their back as incoming consecutive champions. But they’re ready. “Last year’s team was amazing. Everyone was on their A game. This year…

Neighbors

The Worth Public Library, 6917 W. 111th St., has a free Seed Library available to patrons. (Supplied photo)

Worth Library offers seeds for free

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White A seed library collects and stores seeds and shares them with members of the community for free. Similar to a normal library, gardeners borrow seeds from the seed library at planting time. At the end of the growing seasons, they save seeds from the plants and return a portion of…

Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer joins Girl Scout Gold Award winners (from left) Maddie DeBleyzer, Aine Kelly and Lilly O'Dea during the village board meeting on Tuesday night. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizza eyes May opening in Oak Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Paisans Pizzeria is a step closer to opening in Oak Lawn with the approval of a liquor license for the establishment that will be part of the Stony Creek Promenade. Plans for the restaurant were originally approved at an Oak Lawn Village Board meeting in March of 2022. Tom Phelan,…

Palos Park resident Nick Hoffman said his patience is wearing out with noise and parking problems caused by the Palos Islamic Center.

Palos Park residents, mosque reps discuss noise issues at council meeting

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva What could have been an explosive situation was actually quite civil. Some Palos Park residents were angry about loud activity and behavior of some members of the Palos Islamic Center the past two years and sounded off at the April 8 village council meeting. Fresh on their minds was noise…

The Obbie’s Pizza sign will remain a familiar sight on Archer Avenue. Taking time out for a photo are new owner John Caputi; his son, Giovanni; and Obbie’s longtime managers, Jim Triak and Jeff Twaragowski. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

Comings & Goings: Obbie’s Pizza to stay ‘unique and delicious’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Archer Avenue’s long-time king of pizzerias will continue to rule. Same recipes at Obbie’s Pizza, 6654 W. Archer. Same pizza and ingredients. Same pasta, broasted chicken, shrimp, perch, Italian beef/sausage/meatball sandwiches, sides and pop. Same seasoned, Middleby Marshall pizza oven built in 1947—the type of pizza oven every restaurant owner…

stickney health district logo

Stickney Public Health confirms measles case in Bedford Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Stickney Public Health District has confirmed that a person with measles related to the ongoing situation in the City of Chicago was at the Walmart Supercenter at 7050 S. Cicero Ave. in Bedford Park on Friday, March 22, roughly between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. Anybody who…

Endless Summerfest in La Grange’s Gordon Park will not be held this year, sponsors have announced. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

La Grange cancels Endless Summerfest over higher costs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch It turns out the summer is not endless, at least not in La Grange. Endless Summerfest, a three-day event held the first weekend in August at Gordon Park for many years, will not be held this year. The cancelation was announced Tuesday in a joint new release from the La…

regional orland park police logo

Midlothian man arrested for Orland Park carjacking

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom wire reports The Orland Park Police Department announced the arrest of a suspect in a vehicular hijacking that occurred on the evening of April 3. Shawn Flores, a 44-year-old Midlothian resident, faces charges following his apprehension on April 4. The incident began when a male victim was forcibly removed from his vehicle…

big PoliceLights1

Blotter: Evergreen Park police issue scam alert

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Evergreen Park Police Department is warning the public of an ongoing scam where a caller claims to be an Evergreen Park Police Officer, and instructs the individual to send money in order to avoid criminal charges. In some versions of this scam, the offenders tell individuals they missed a court date related…

The Palos South eighth-grade Girls Volleyball Team is: Top row (left to right) Dorian Urquizo, Annika Hock, Maja Pszczola, Elaina Yasin, Hannah Koenig, Makaleigh Terry, Maya Surdel, Brooklyn Parr, Maggie Purtill, Coach Marty Duggan. Bottom row (left to right) are Raliyah Bruce, Sarah Cairo, Sofia Wilson, Katy Zumerchik, Khadija Faisal, Alexa Morales. (Supplied photos)

Palos South eighth-grade girls volleyballers go undefeated

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports Palos South’s eighth-grade girls’ volleyball team finished first in the Southwest Interscholastic Conference (SWIC) on March 9, completing an undefeated season with a record of 19-0. This is the fifth straight year that Coach Marty Duggan has led the Cardinals to a first-place finish in the tournament, which was held…

Members of the Moraine Valley Community College Speech and Debate Team are competing at nationals. (Supplied photo)

Moraine Valley Speech and Debate Team headed to nationals to defend title

Spread the love

Spread the loveWhen the Moraine Valley Community College Speech and Debate Team heads to the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament in Reno, Nevada, for nine days this month, they’ll have a target on their back as incoming consecutive champions. But they’re ready. “Last year’s team was amazing. Everyone was on their A game. This year…