As the leader in education and benchmarking data and statistics for
the technology transfer profession, AUTM is informed and well positioned
to advise on matters of public policy affecting the profession. AUTM
strongly opposes “free agency,” a concept which would allow
university faculty to shop discoveries to any third party for
licensing—regardless of where the research was conducted.
Read AUTM's position statement.
AUTM President-elect, Jane Muir, RTTP, blogs about free agency here.
Need a way to describe what free agency is and why it is a bad idea? Download this infographic! Share it with your government relations staff or any of your constituents. AUTM created this to help explain, in the simplest terms possible, why free agency will not speed up the technology transfer process. You have our permission to disseminate this as widely as possible.
House of Representatives
In June 2012, The Startup Act 2.0 (H.R. 5893) was introduced in the House of Representatives. Co-sponsors include: Reps. Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Robert Dold (R-IL), Michael G. Grimm (R-NY), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS).
In late 2011, Senators Moran (KS) and Warner (VA) introduced S.1965, The Startup Act, to the Senate. This bill is a good one—providing much needed support to accelerate the formation of startups and removes some unnecessary hurdles.
However, AUTM does not support Section 7 of
this bill, as it re-introduces the concept of free agency
AUTM has been actively watching the progress of S.1965 and has worked with our colleagues at
AAU, APLU and COGR to write alternative language for Section 7.
The Kauffman Foundation has now launched a Startup Act for The
States. This puts free agency up as its first proposal and lashes out at
the SBIR program and research parks.
Read the Startup Act for States
The American Association of University Professors' (AAUP) Recommended Principles and Practices to Guide Academy-Industry Relationships includes recommendations that amount to free agency. The AAUP invited public comment. Read AUTM's response.
Free Agency of Ideas, Inside Higher Ed, 5/14/2012
School Power: The Case for Keeping Innovation in the Hands of Universities, Sen. Birch Bayh and Joseph P. Allen, The Atlantic
Three Policies That Gave Us the Jobs Economy, The Wall Street Journal
Read the report Managing
University Intellectual Property in the Public Interest by the
National Research Council of the National Academies
Read AUTM's letter to the Department of Commerce