Advocacy & Public Policy

How and When Does AUTM Take a Formal Position?

AUTM educates and communicates with public officials 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.

AUTM Statements

July 11, 2018
AUTM has issued a response to the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), which is assessing the Federal technology transfer system and soliciting feedback. Should you or your institution be interested in submitting your own comments (we strongly encourage you to be heard), the deadline is July 30, 2018. More details of submitting can be found here.

Return on Investment Initiative
The National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) is launching a Return on Investment (ROI) initiative to assess the Federal technology transfer system. A Request for Information has been published to solicit feedback from stakeholders. AUTM strongly encourages member institutions to offer comments. View details here.

AUTM Comments on Rule Change
AUTM issued comments on USPTO’s Proposed Changes to the Claim Construction Standard Used in PTAB Proceedings.

Stronger Patents Act
On June 21, 2017, AUTM joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) to release a joint statement regarding the introduction of the STRONGER Patents Act in the U.S. Senate. This legislation would effectively crack down on the abusive practices of patent trolls without weakening the U.S. patent system. Universities rely on a strong patent system to ensure research discoveries can be transferred to businesses that can develop them into marketable products that improve our quality of life and fuel the economy. This measure would help ensure the strength of this technology transfer process, which significantly contributes to our nation’s leadership in science and technology. 

In a joint statement on June 10, 2015, AUTM joined AAU, AAMC, APLU, COGR, IA, MDMA, NVCA, and USIJ to welcome the decision by the House Judiciary Committee to delay the markup of H.R. 9, the "Innovation Act," stating that any new patent legislation should address abusive patent litigation without risking harm to the value and enforceability of legitimate patents. 

In a letter released April 30, 2015, AUTM joined AAU, APLU, COGR, ACE, and AAMC in thanking Senate sponsors of the PATENT Act for listening to the concerns of the higher education community and drafting 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.

Advocacy News

March-in Rights
The Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services responds to Representative Doggett (D-TX) regarding the use of the Bayh-Dole Act march-in authority to address rising drug costs. Read the complete letter here.

Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee
In this case, the Supreme Court addresses two questions regarding inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. First, is it appropriate for the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use a different claim constructions standard than is used in federal district court. Second, are institution decisions insulated from judicial review.

For additional background, read this column from IPWatchdog, Supreme Court Accepts Cuozzo Speed Technologies IPR Appeal.

On February 29, 2016, AUTM joined BIO in amici curiae in support of Cuozzo Speed. You can read the full brief here.

Patient Advocacy Groups Concerned About H.R. 9
On September 8, 2015, more than 100 patient advocacy groups sent a joint letter to House and Senate leaders to express concerns that H.R. 9, the "Innovation Act", falls short of preserving important patent protections for biopharmaceutical innovation. Developing new medical treatments can cost billions of dollars and take more than a decade of research and development. Both small and large research and development companies rely heavily on the certainty of their patents to justify the significant long-term, risky investments needed to obtain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Strong patents will ensure that innovative ideas make it from the lab to the people who need them most. Read more.

Bipartisan Press Conference in Opposition to H.R. 9
Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Representative John Conyers (D-MI), Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) held a joint press conference on July 14 to highlight the broad opposition to sweeping anti-patent legislation moving through Congress. See the video here.

Challenges and Opportunities Facing Technology Transfer
View this session from the AUTM 2015 Annual Meeting on the challenges and opportunities in Washington that are confronting technology transfer offices: The View from Washington: Challenges and Opportunities for Technology Transfer Offices.

AUTM Participates in Capitol Hill Briefing
The Congressional Technology Transfer Caucus conducted a Capitol Hill briefing on technology transfer policy reform on January 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.

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! ”

Find additional technology transfer news here.

PATENT Act (S. 1137)

The Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act (PATENT Act) is intended to reform the patent system to stop abusive litigation practices and prevent bad actors from undermining the system that made the United States one of the most dynamic and innovative countries in the world. The full bill and summary are available from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

David 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 on March 19, 2015, took place during a hearing titled, “Patent Reform: Protecting Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”  Read testimonial.

Innovation Act (H.R. 9)

The "Innovation Act”, H.R. 9, is intended minimize abusive patent litigation — often referred to as the “patent troll” problem —  and build on the reforms that were made in the America Invents Act. Additional background is available from the House Judiciary Committee.

On February 24, 2015, a letter of opposition from 145 university presidents was addressed to the leaders of the Committee on the Judiciary for both the Senate and House of Representatives stating that it is imperative that any legistlation avoid sweeping changes that would weaken the overall patent system and hinder the flow of groundbreaking advances from university research to the private sector.

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.


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