By Max Lin, Foley & Lardner LLP
This article is part of our Spring 2011 edition of Legal News: China Quarterly Newsletter, Eye on China.
China’s National Patent Development Strategy (2011 – 2020) (Plan) was announced in November 2010. The proposed measures focus on enhancing China’s IP system and encouraging local individuals, institutions, and companies to pursue IP protection domestically and abroad. By the end of 2015, the number of Chinese patent applications are projected to double. Chinese authorities clearly view patents as vital commercial assets central to the country’s development.
Fully achieving the Plan’s potential economic value depends upon establishing an effective framework for the commercialization of government-sponsored technology through licensing and transfer. Those seeking to buy or license cutting-edge technologies from Chinese universities or scientific research institutes should be familiar with China’s regulation governing such technology transfers or licenses — the so-called “China Bayh-Dole Act.”
Before 2002, China’s regulatory system did not address regulating the intellectual property ownership of technology developments sponsored by government funding. As a result of China’s booming economy, there was increased demand for advanced technologies by private individuals or companies, who then sought the commercial development of technologies that remained in universities or research institutes. As a result, technology licensing or transfer activities began to emerge from universities or research institutes. The primary challenge for those activities was the intellectual property ownership of the technologies. Most Chinese universities or research institutes are state-owned, and the cost of research is sponsored by government funding. As such, it was unclear and undefined under the law who owned the involved technology.
In March 2002, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Science and Technology co-issued Several Regulations Concerning Intellectual Property Management of State Scientific and Research Program Result (Regulations) to improve the process of technology licensing or transfer. The Regulations first emulated the core spirit of the U.S. Bayh-Dole Act and set forth the ownership of intellectual property. Except in cases where national security, national interests, or significant public interests are involved, the state granted the intellectual property developed in scientific research programs sponsored by government funding to the performing organization so that it can implement, license, or transfer the intellectual property independently. The state retained the right to use the intellectual property freely. If the performing organization — as the intellectual property owner — does not implement the intellectual property or obstructs the public from utilizing the intellectual property, the state can intervene by licensing a designated party to implement it freely or by paying royalties to the performing organization, depending on the specific circumstances. The Regulations do not detail the circumstances, leaving the decision up to government discretion.
In December 2007, China passed the Scientific and Technological Progress Law, which upgrades the provisions of the Regulations with respect to intellectual property ownership to the level of national law. The law sub-divides intellectual property rights into four items, namely, invention patents, computer software copyrights, exclusive rights to layout-design of integrated circuits, and new variety right of plant. Utility model patents and design patents as well as other intellectual property are excluded from the scope of intellectual property defined in the law. In addition, the law uses the name “project undertaker” to refer to units undertaking a project, such as scientific institutions, universities, enterprises, and so forth, but it does not exclude individuals.
The law grants the intellectual property ownership that is formed though a project sponsored by treasury money to the project undertaker, which encourages the project undertaker to continue being innovative. With intellectual property ownership in hand, the project undertaker has more motivation for the highly efficient commercial development of the intellectual property. Besides implementation by the project undertaker himself, the project undertaker can transfer or license the intellectual property. However, there is restriction on such transfer or license: Because the state has paid for the formation of the intellectual property, the state encourages such intellectual property to be utilized domestically. It is noted that such encouragement does not forbid transfer or license outside of China. However, the transfer of intellectual property rights to overseas organizations or individuals, or the licensing of exclusive use rights to overseas organizations or individuals, is subject to governmental approval. No approval is required for the licensing of non-exclusive use rights.
It is important for companies to secure key positions in their intellectual property. The acceleration of IP creation and protection for Chinese innovation under the Plan creates increased commercial opportunity for licensing and technology transfer. For companies seeking to acquire government-funded technology through license or technology transfer in China, it is important to become familiar with the regulations governing such transactions.
An article out of the Genomics Law Report discussing the recent law suit citing violations of the Bayh Dole Act.
A second article from Patent Docs discusses the request for rehearing of the patients petition to the NIH for march-in.
Thank you Roger [Martin], for that kind introduction. I would like to thank the Innovation Alliance for having me in today to speak with you about intellectual property’s vital role in today’s innovation economy.
America stands at a critical juncture in our economic evolution, and intellectual property will play a key role in driving our economic growth and renewal.
As technological advances bring great change to the speed and complexity of American innovation, strong intellectual property protection and its effective enforcement will fuel innovation and jump-start our economy.
Today, I’ll speak about the critical role of IP in spurring innovation – and in increasing America’s competitiveness globally.
I’ll address the how the USPTO can ensure a well-functioning patent system; a patent system that enables small and medium sized businesses to secure the investment capital they need to bring their goods and services to market, and helps promote the free flow of goods and services across markets. I’ll discuss the imperative for government leaders – the Executive branch, the Congress and the courts – to nurture an IP eco-system that will promote innovation, and ensure America’s economic well-being.
The economic success of the United States is deeply rooted in the history of American innovation. This country was founded by pioneers who developed new ways to cope with an unfamiliar environment, who cured disease and connected a country, and who led the world into the age of flight. American innovators discovered the power of information technology and digital communication that brought unprecedented commerce, economic growth, and prosperity.
So, our history has been driven by innovation. And our economic security continues to depend upon our ability to innovate – and to compete in an innovation economy. The key to economic success lies increasingly in innovative product and service development, and in intellectual property protection, which creates value for innovation.
IP is – in effect — the global currency of innovation.
Today, as a share of gross economic value, the United States invests more in intangible assets than any of our major trading partners, and our intangible investments now exceed those in tangible assets by more than 20%.
And it is patent-reliant industries, specifically, that make up the most dynamic parts of the economy—from nanotechnology to pharmaceuticals, from computers to bio-tech, and from fiber optics to green technology.
Timely and high-quality patents are critical to small businesses, which create two out of every three American jobs. They foster research and development, which requires capital and investment.
And they are essential to attracting the funds needed to bring innovation to market.
Let’s take the example of a company called Xencor—outside Los Angeles—which creates cutting-edge biotherapeutics to treat cancer, inflammation, and autoimmune disease. Xencor uses patents to protect its proprietary design automation technology.
Xencor CEO Dr. Bassil Dahiyat put it simply: “without patents, you cannot get funding, and without funding, you cannot grow and create jobs.”
In Southeast Michigan, one of the areas hardest hit by the recession, the company Axletech International is a global manufacturer of machine hardware, with a significant patent portfolio upon which it depends heavily. Since it began as a spin-off in 2002, Axletech has more than doubled its workforce and now employs more than 1,000 people.
Two different industries, two very different regions, two very different companies. One thing in common: innovation protected by intellectual property creating jobs.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office was described in Harvard Business Review as the “biggest job creator you never heard of.”
As our country seeks to regain the 8 million jobs lost during the recent recession, the USPTO is a great place to start. Countless inventions that can spark new businesses are right there—sitting in the backlog. And reducing that backlog is one of Secretary Locke’s and my highest priorities.
The backlog of over 700,000 patent applications stands as a barrier to innovation and economic growth. A 2010 report concludes that the backlog could ultimately cost the US economy billions of dollars annually in “foregone innovation.”
The next laser, the next energy breakthrough, the next cure for a debilitating disease, is buried in the files of the USPTO—and that is simply unacceptable.
So what are we doing about it? First, we’re working to improve the quality of the patent application review process at the USPTO. Quality patent issuances create certainty in the market. Market certainty, in turn, facilitates growth.
Second, we are reforming the USPTO to reflect its criticality to our economy—and transforming the agency to match the fast pace of technology and innovation.
To this end, we’ve re-engineered the way we motivate and monitor our corps of examiners as well as our leaders; we’ve adopted new ways to recruit and retain top professionals; we’ve redefined performance plans to reflect the importance of high quality patent examination and backlog reduction; fostered more communication between applicants and examiners to improve quality and efficiency; and we’re working to build a new IT infrastructure that will speed patent application processing and improve search quality.
But—most critically—to decrease pendency while improving the quality of our work product, we have begun to recognize what companies in the shipping business figured out some time ago—that all packages don’t have to get to their destination at the same rate. Some require next day service, while others can take a week.
It is clearly time for the USPTO—our nation’s Innovation Agency—to adopt private sector business practices and offer market-driven services.
So, the USPTO has instituted various programs enabling applicants to receive accelerated review, including for technologies in areas that are priorities for the Obama Administration – like green technology that is essential to battling climate change.
Very shortly, we will be issuing a notice regarding the details of Track 1 of the three track proposal we circulated last year, which is our plan to provide a comprehensive, flexible, patent application processing model offering different processing options more responsive to the real-world needs of our applicants.
Significantly, Track 1 will enable applicants – for a fee – to secure their patent within one year – thus enabling important new products and services to come to market sooner, create jobs and opportunity sooner, and make Americans healthier and more productive—a lot sooner.
Through programs like these, and through the tireless work of our examining corps, we will focus our efforts more effectively, reduce pendency, bring the backlog down, and foster innovation critical to the economic and social well-being of the United States.
But, America’s innovation success will require more than an effective USPTO. It will be a function of many complex and overlapping innovation variables.
In the proud history of the United States—innovation led development—IP led development—has created economic vitality and good jobs.
In fact, technological innovation is linked to three quarters of our Nation’s post WWII growth rate. And between 1990 and 2007, compensation for jobs in innovation-intensive sectors increased by two and a half times the national average.
And the US government has always played a critical role in ensuring innovation-driven growth.
During the deep recession of the 1970’s—innovation slowed dramatically and the manufacturing sector declined significantly. In response, the US government launched a Domestic Policy Review aimed at reviving American industrial innovation. This study, and others like it, led to the creation of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which brought clarity to the law and improved certainty around IP rights—increasing their value.
At the same time, Congress realized the critical role of patents in innovation through university research and development. So it passed the Bayh-Dole Act, which encourages university patenting.
The increase in patent value and R & D that resulted from the patent system improvements of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s paved the way for a new era of economic growth and opportunity that lasted for the better part of two decades.
Now, as in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the United States stands at a crossroads of innovation. Today we are presented with another innovation opportunity – and we again need sound IP policy and enforcement to increase the value of innovation.
To this end, the USPTO strongly supports comprehensive patent reform and applauds the significant efforts of Members of both the House and Senate to continue to push for these reforms, particularly Chairman Leahy and Chairman Smith who are making getting this bipartisan jobs legislation passed a top priority.
Proposals in this legislation – many that will help USPTO do its job better — have been discussed for the better part of the last 10 years. And this is the Congress where we should and must finish those many years of work.
Parties have debated proposals and amended language many times, to where we now have key provisions that most parties support and that – without a doubt – will add more certainty to litigation, enable greater work sharing between USPTO and other countries, and help USPTO continue with the operational changes we know are needed to support innovators, help companies create jobs and put new, and better products in the marketplace.
President Obama talked about patent reform in his meeting with CEOs last month. Secretary Locke has been and will continue to be a true champion in this endeavor. And I am committed to continue working with Congress as they work to put forth the best piece of legislation possible.
And to do so, we’ll use what we’ve learned from recent litigation and court decisions and from the previous Congressional attempts to make Patent Reform law. We’ll also need your continued feedback and support. But make no mistake—the time is now, this year, to restore our nation’s innovation system to the global platinum standard it must be.
In parallel with reform of the patent system, it is incumbent upon us to develop a comprehensive and robust national IP policy focused on leveraging our IP system for economic growth and job creation.
America’s economic security depends on it. So, in coordination with the White House, the Department of Commerce, and as a part of the President’s Innovation Strategy, the USPTO will lead in creating a National IP Strategy.
And we’ll reach out to the inventor, university and business community to play an active role in formulating this policy, based on sound practices.
We must provide an environment that allows American innovators, small and large, to protect their IP and attract capital based on their ideas. For businesses to flourish, we must provide timely and high quality access to IP rights. And we must ensure that universities press forward the frontiers of science, while working with the private sector to ensure that the value they create is both protected and diffused quickly for the benefit of the communities they serve.
All parts of the US innovation value chain must remain vibrant…and if amplified by good government policy, the current re-aligning trends can support one another to preserve American leadership in the decades to come.
A sound national IP policy will lead to the creation and success of more innovative companies like Xencor and Axletech. And it will ensure that we can leverage IP to safeguard our economic well-being.
If we act to meet these challenges, we can fuel decades of American economic growth. The simple prerequisite: a national focus on intellectual property as the currency of innovation.
Filed under: Bayh-Dole, economic development, Green Technology, International, Patent Reform, patents, Uncategorized, United States Patent and Trademark Office | Tagged: Axletech International, backlog reduction, Bayh-Dole, Chairman Leahy, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, David Kappos, Department of Commerce, Director Kappos, economic development, economic growth, Harvard Business Review, Innovation Alliance, intellectual property, IP policy, job growth, Obama Administration, patent, Patent Reform, PTO, Track 1, United States Patent and Trademark Office, USPTO, Xencor | 1 Comment »
Lila Feisee, Vice President for Global Intellectual Property Policy at BIO, moderated a podcast on the benefits of the Bayh-Dole Act and the need to maintain flexibility in our nation’s technology transfer system. She was joined by:
- Dr. Ashley Stevens, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Research Technology Development and Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship & Commercialization at the Boston University School of Management. He also serves as President of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), a nonprofit organization with an international membership of more than 3,000 technology managers and business executives. AUTM members come from more than 300 universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals as well as numerous businesses and government organizations.
- Betsy de Parry, a patient advocate and author of The Roller Coaster Diaries, the story of her experience with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
To listen to the podcast go to: http://www.biotech-now.org/section/bio-matters/2011/01/12/celebrating-thirty-years-success-bayh-dole-act and press the play button at the bottom of the article.
Filed under: Bayh-Dole, economic development, Global Health, patents, Uncategorized | Tagged: Ashley Stevens, Association of Technology Transfer Managers, AUTM, Bayh-Dole, Bayh-Dole Act, Betsy de Parry, BIO, biotech-now, biotechnology, Lila Feisee, Podcast, technology transfer | Leave a comment »
As we start a new year, the BIO Intellectual Property Department has determined their 2011 priorities. Intellectual Property remains a foundational priority for BIO and our 1100 biotechnology company members.
BIO’s IP department has approved the following priorities for 2011:
1) PTO reforms to improve efficient, timely and quality examination
2) Congressional patent reform legislation
3) Improving IP protection in key foreign markets
4) IP legal developments in the courts
5) Protecting the breadth and flexibility of the patent and technology transfer system.
Filed under: Bayh-Dole, economic development, International, Patent Reform, patents, Supreme Court, technology transfer, United States Patent and Trademark Office | Tagged: BIO, Biotechnology Industry Organization, intellectual property, IP, Patent Reform, patent reform in foreign markets, technology transfer | Leave a comment »
AUTM released their 2009 report for technology transfer licensing activities. Of particular interest is the 596 start-up companies that were created in the middle of an economic recessision. This Survey suggests that in 2009 Bayh-Dole contributed to growth in an otherwise declining economy, created jobs, and helped fund future research.
Here are the U.S. Highlights:
The number of licenses executed increased 5.6 percent, whereas the number of options decreased 3.4 percent. Total licenses and options increased 3.8 percent. The number of startups was essentially unchanged.
Products, startups and licenses/options:
• 658 new commercial products launched
• 5,328 total licenses and options executed, 4,374 of which were licenses
• 596 startup companies formed, 435 of which had their primary place of business in the licensing institution’s home state
• 3,423 startups still operating as of the end of 2009
Technology Transfer Pipeline
Research expenditures continued to increase: total research and development spending increased 4.7 percent, federal expenditures increased 1.9 percent, and given the financial downturn, an 8.2 percent surge in industrial research funding was especially significant.
• $53.9 billion total sponsored research expenditures
• $33.3 billion in federally funded sponsored research expenditures
• $4.0 billion in industry-sponsored research expenditures
Intellectual Property Management
The number of disclosures received increased 1 percent.
• 20,309 disclosures
AUTM analyzed, in great depth — the areas within which the disclosures fell and was able to categorize 66 percent of the disclosures or 13,376.
Total U.S. patent applications filed decreased almost 4 percent, while new patent applications declined almost 1 percent. However, the number of foreign filings increased significantly, up almost 56 percent.
• 18,214 total U.S. patent applications
• 12,109 new patent applications
• 1,322 non-U.S. patent applications
The number of patents issued increased nearly 4 percent.
• 3,417 issued patents
Total license income decreased 32.5 percent in 2009. This decrease is largely due to 2008’s figures including substantial one time payments received by Northwestern University, City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute, Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The decrease was across the board: Running royalties dropped 29.7 percent, cashed-in equity dropped 45 percent, and other income dropped 35.5 percent.
• Total income: $2.3 billion
• Running royalty: $1.6 billion
• Cashed-in equity: $24.4 million
• Other income: $362 million
Filed under: Bayh-Dole, economic development, technology transfer, Uncategorized | Tagged: Bayh-Dole, economic development, economic growth, job creation, Licensing technology, spin off companies, spin off company, start up company, technology transfer | Leave a comment »
AUTM released their Better World Report for 2010 highlighting academic innovations commercially developed through technology transfer that are improving the quality of life. Here is a quote from their press release.
A device that allows the blind to ―see‖ via electrical pulses applied to the tongue…a collagen scaffold to treat damaged joints…a new vaccine to prevent shingles…an artificial lung that provides patients with both mobility and comfort during treatment…a program that vastly improves literacy among middle and high-school age students…a device that transforms wheelchairs into all-terrain vehicles…a vaccine to prevent HPV…
These are just a few of the discoveries featured in the 2010 edition of the AUTM Better World Report, a collection of stories about technologies that originated in academic research and were brought to the public through technology transfer, the process of licensing and commercializing academic research so it can become real products that make the world a healthier and safer place.
Senator Birch Bayh writes the foreword and includes impressive evidence of Bayh-Dole’s success.
• More than 6,000 new U.S. companies were formed from university inventions.
• 4,350 new university licensed products are in the market.
• 5,000 active university-industry licenses are in effect, mostly with small companies.
• More than 153 new drugs, vaccines or in vitro devices have been commercialized from federally funded research since enactment of Bayh-Dole.
• Between 1996 and 2007 university patent licensing made:
❍ a $187 billion impact on the U.S. gross domestic product,
❍ a $457 billion impact on U.S. gross industrial output; and
❍ 279,000 new jobs in the United States.
A fairly impressive accomplishment considering before Bayh-Dole Senator Bayh states:
“We found 28,000 government-funded inventions gathering dust on agency shelves with not a single drug commercialized when the government owned the patent.”
The report is an interesting read as it includes a small snapshot of what the academic and private sector can do when patent ownership incentives are properly aligned.
Filed under: Bayh-Dole, economic development, Global Health, NIH, patents, Uncategorized | Tagged: Association of Technology Transfer Managers, AUTM, Bayh-Dole, BIO, biotechnology, federally funded research, government funded research, healthcare, Licensing technology, modern medicine, new drug development, Research and Development, Senator Birch Bayh, Senator Dole | Leave a comment »