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Federal Agency Efforts in Transferring and Reporting New Technology

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

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United States General Accounting Office Washington United States

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Prior to 1980, federal agencies generally retained title to any inventions created under federal researchwhether it was conducted by contractors and grantees or by the agencies in their own facilitiesalthough specific policies varied among the agencies. Increasingly, this situation was a source of dissatisfaction, as there was a general belief that the results of federally owned research were not being made available to those who could use them. There were also concerns that technological advances attributable to university-based research funded by the government were not being utilized because the universities had little incentive to seek uses for inventions to which the government held title. Additionally, the complexity of the rules and regulations and the lack of a uniform policy for these inventions often frustrated those who did seek to use the research. In 1980, the Congress addressed these concerns with two landmark pieces of legislation that changed the direction of federal technology transfer. One was the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980, which addressed technology transfer of government-owned inventions primarily created in federal laboratories. The second was the Bayh-Dole Act, which primarily addressed ownership of technology created under federal contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Information Science

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