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Licensing Technology Developed with Public Funds

Should Patent Assertion Entities Receive Exclusive Licenses to Federally Owned Patents?

Sean Reilly and Seth Waxman

©2016. Published in Landslide, Vol. 9, No. 2, November/December 2016, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

When it passed the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980,1 Congress aimed to “promote the utilization of inventions arising from federally supported research or development.”2 The act’s better-known provisions permit universities, small businesses, and nonprofit institutions that use federal funds for research to retain title to patents on inventions discovered through that research.3 But for patents that the United States owns, the act also explicitly authorizes federal agencies to issue nonexclusive, exclusive, and partially exclusive licenses if certain conditions are met.

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