Former US Senator, co-sponsor of the pivotal Bayh-Dole Act 1980
IP Hall of Fame inductee in 2006
A Democratic senator from Indiana from 1963 to 1981, Birch Bayh was a co-author of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. This piece of legislation allowed US universities and non-profit organisations to own and commercialise inventions that were created with federal funding. As a result, universities became much more active in patenting their inventions and transferring their IP to the private sector for commercialisation through licence agreements and other forms of technology transfer. The Economist said that: “The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 is perhaps the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the past half-century… More than anything, this single policy measure helped to reverse America’s precipitous slide into industrial irrelevance.”
Today, Bayh is a partner in the legislative and regulatory group of US law firm Venable’s government division.