Advocacy/Public Policy

What is Technology Transfer

ImageAUTM's new About Technology Transfer video concisely and effectively describes technology transfer and how it benefits us all. The video is an ideal tool for conveying the technology transfer story to stakeholders and constituents. Learn more about how technology transfer benefits us all. View video.

To download the video for offline viewing, right-click here, choose 'save link as...' ('save target as..' in IE), and save the file to a location on your computer. The video is in .mp4 format, which is playable in most major video players, such as Windows Media Player and iTunes.


Hot Topics                                        

Hot topics are issues in which AUTM and its members are actively engaged. Current hot topics include:


AUTM joins AAU, APLU, COGR, ACE, and AAMC in a letter thanking Senate sponsors of the PATENT Act — legislation seen as a more measured approach than the Innovation Act in addressing abusive litigation practices of patent trolls while protecting the integrity of our patent system.

ImageDavid Winwood, AUTM’s President-Elect, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship about the importance of maintaining a fair and equitable U.S. patent system from the perspective of U.S. research universities. His testimony took place during a hearing titled, “Patent Reform: Protecting Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”  Read testimonial.

Innovation Act

Joint Statement from AAU, AAMC, APLU, AUTM, COGR, IA, MDMA, NVCA, and USIJ on Delay of House Judiciary Committee Markup of H.R. 9

The Innovation Act”, H.R. 9, is intended minimize abusive patent litigation — often referred to as the “patent troll” problem.
letter of opposition has been submitted by AUTM and several other associations within the higher education community. Learn more about key provisions of the Innovation Act, as well as the letter of opposition from 145 university presidents. .

Learn more.

Lions and Tigers and…Trolls, Oh My!

"Although the word “trolling” is generally thought of as a way to fish by dragging a lure through the water (a practice actually ruled illegal in such popular fishing states as Wisconsin) the metaphor of “a troll lurking under the technology bridge” aptly describes a recent flare-up in the business of getting discoveries across that bridge into the marketplace."

Read the complete article, “Lions and Tigers and…Trolls, Oh My! ”
Read "The Danger of Patent Trolling"

AUTM Participates in Capitol Hill Briefing About Technology Transfer

The Congressional Technology Transfer Caucus conducted a Capitol Hill briefing on technology transfer policy reform on Janaury 28. A panel of national experts discussed university R&D commercialization issues as well as proposed policy solutions to accelerate research into the marketplace.

Click here to view a video from the briefing.


AUTM 2015 Annual Meeting

The View from Washington: Challenges and Opportunities for Technology Transfer Offices    

"Innovation Act" Battle Moves from House to Senate

On Dec. 5, 2013 the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 3309, “The Innovation Act,” by a vote of 325-91. The bill progressed very rapidly through Congress and is now in the United States Senate.

The sponsors of the bill intend it to target and minimize abusive patent litigation – often referred to as the “patent troll” problem. This statement summarizes the opposition to the bill in its current form. The letter was submitted by AUTM and several associations within the higher education community including: American Council on Education (ACE), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Association of American Universities (AAU); Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU); Council on Governmental Relations (COGR).

Other letters expressing opposition have been submitted by many interest groups, including the Licensing Executives Society (LES), IEEE-USA, Entrepreneurs for Growth, the Medical Device Manufacturers Association, the Patent Office Professional Association, the Innovation Alliance, the National Small Business Association and the Small Business Technology Council.

A conference call was held on Dec. 13 for AUTM Directors, providing a detailed overview on the Senate bill. Directors were encouraged to share information with their federal relations officers.

Associations Statement on Manager's Ammendment HR 3309

HE Statement on HR3309_12 2 13

Summary of opposition to HR 3309 - Innovation Act_12

AAU Statement on S 1720

For further background information on H.R. 3309, "The Innovation Act," visit the AUTM Advocacy Archives.

The TRANSFER Act of 2013 

H.R. 2981, The TRANSFER Act of 2013 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Collins (NY). AUTM supports this legislation and collaborated with House staff and colleagues at other higher education associations in contributing language for the bill. AUTM joined other higher education associations in sending a letter of support for the bill to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. AUTM is very encouraged by the interest in the House to support technology transfer efforts in broad measures. We will continue to bring you updates on the progression of the legislation.

This bill will allow federal agencies to award grants for:

  • providing early stage proof-of-concept funding for translational research
  • identifying research and technologies at recipient institutions that have the potential for accelerated commercialization
  • technology maturation to support activities such as prototype construction, experiment analysis, product comparison, and collecting performance data
  • technical validations, market research, clarifying intellectual property rights position and strategy, and investigating commercial and business opportunities
  • programs to provide advice, mentoring, entrepreneurial education, project management, and technology and business development expertise to innovators and recipients of technology transfer licenses to maximize commercialization potential

If you are interested in providing input or commentary on this issue please join the Advocacy Network in the AUTM Communities. If you’re on Twitter, please show your support by Tweeting I support the #TRANSFER Act.

For questions contact

Protecting the Bayh-Dole Act

Be an advocate for this important piece of legislation. For background information on the Bayh-Dole Act, as well as talking points and tools you can use to advocate, visit the AUTM Bayh-Dole Act page.


Supreme Court Says Human Genes Aren't Patentable

Read the decisionRead AUTM's response to the decision.


The AMP v. USPTO Remand:  Déjà Vu as Federal Circuit Majority Reaffirms that Myriad’s Isolated DNA Sequences Are Patent-Eligible, Eric W. Guttag,
Eric W. Guttag IP Law Office. Read the full analysis.

"A U.S. federal appeals court has once again affirmed the right of Myriad Genetics Inc to patent two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer," Reuters, Aug. 16. Read more.

AUTM, BIO and the Coalition for 21st Century Medicine filed an amicus brief in support of Myriad. Read more.

America Invents Act

AUTM and other university associations submitted comments on proposed rules and guidance to implement the first-inventor-to-file provisions of the America Invents Act. Read the submission here.

PCT Third Party Observation

Traditionally, the only parties involved in the international phase of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) have been the applicant and the Offices conducting the processing. But the PCT observation service now permits third parties to submit observations relating to published PCT applications during the international phase of processing. The USPTO also recently implemented such a system, as part of the America Invents Act.  Read more here.

Free Agency

Free agency is a concept which would allow university faculty to shop discoveries to any technology transfer office for licensing—regardless of where the research was conducted. Learn more.

StanBalancing Stakeholder Interests in Commercializing Academic Technologies

AUTM has undertaken the task of recognizing the various interests of stakeholders in academic commercialization process, and has advanced the concept of quantifying the expectations each party vested in the process may reasonably hold by establishing the AUTM Guidelines for Balancing Stakeholders’ Interests. The guidelines seek to define and balance these varied and sometimes only partially aligned interests. Read more.

AUTM Responds to RFI on Commercialization

AUTM submitted its response to the Request for Information on the Commercialization of University Research issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council. As stated in the request, "transferring viable research discoveries to the marketplace that can pose the greatest challange to innovators and entrepreneurs." Read AUTM's response here.

Gene Patents and Licensing Practices

Gene patents and licensing practices have recently come under scrutiny following the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society (SACGHS) release of its Public Consultation Draft Report on Gene Patents and Licensing Practices and Their Impact on Patient Access to Genetic Tests. For more on this issue visit the Gene Patents and Licensing Practices page.

Ongoing Public Policy Issues

AUTM keeps a watchful eye on certain public policy issues regardless of whether or not there is specific action to be taken at the present time. For more information, visit the on ongoing public policy issues page. Ongoing public policy issues include:

  • The Bayh-Dole Act
    Learn the latest on the Bayh-Dole Act from a Congressional Research Service report for Congress published in March 2012.
  • Gene Patents and Licensing Practices
  • Global Health
  • In re Bilski
  • Sovereign Immunity
  • March-in Rights
  • Patent Reform
  • The America Invents Act
    Has been signed into law. Visit the patent reform page for more information.


Become an Advocate

To learn how you can become involved contact the Public Policy Committee. Share what's on your mind with the AUTM community by posting a blog.

How and When Does AUTM Take a Formal Position?

AUTM educates and communicates with public officials - rather than lobbying according to the wishes of any segment of the overall AUTM membership - and seeks to keep members informed about issues and legislative activity so individuals may respond in a way appropriate to their particular circumstances. However, certain issues arise where the association is called to take a position. AUTM identifies when such action is appropriate by following certain guidelines for taking a formal position.

To view an archive of past issues, click here.