In the context of the university-ownership system, there are second-order issues that vary with the type of research sponsor. In the case of federally sponsored research, are universities accountable with respect to the objectives, conditions, and limitations stipulated in the Bayh-Dole Act? In the case of privately sponsored research, does the effort expended on negotiation of terms addressing the ownership or dissemination of IP that could result from the research to be sponsored represent a serious impediment to universities concluding sponsored research agreements with businesses or private foundations? If so, are these sponsors seeking relationships with non-U.S. institutions instead?

In addressing these questions, the committee drew upon a variety of sources. As discussed in Chapter 2, the subject of university-owned IP has attracted a number of scholars in economics, sociology, and other disciplines who have produced a body of empirical research. Much of that research concerns the impact of IP on the university research enterprise. There has been somewhat less systematic research on the relative effectiveness of different institutional practices and arrangements with private research sponsors and even less work comparing alternative systems of IP ownership and management. The committee’s own inquiries, through testimony in public meetings and a two-day workshop held on November 20-21, 2008, provided additional, although limited, sources of evidence, as did the survey of technology transfer offices conducted by Feldman and Bercovitz,92 for which this study provided partial support. Finally, the committee reviewed the recommendations of other groups, organizations, and individuals, ranging from guidance on licensing practices to calls for a new system of managing IP arising from academic research.

The federal government also plays a role in implementing Bayh-Dole in terms of oversight and monitoring. To address the issue of public accountability, the committee relied on reports of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO; formerly, General Accounting Office), to which Congress assigned periodic investigative and reporting responsibility in the Bayh-Dole Act.


Annually collected AUTM data dominate nearly all scholarly efforts to evaluate and compare institutions’ performance in IP-based technology transfer. The principal metrics are number of invention disclosures received from faculty by the technology transfer office; the number of patents applied for and granted; the number of licenses executed; and the amount of revenue derived from licenses, investment liquidation, sales of IP rights, legal settlements, and related indicators. Several researchers have investigated the striking differences in


M. Feldman and J. Bercovitz, op. cit.

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