Today, former Vermont Governor and Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Howard Dean published an opinion piece in the Hartford Courant arguing that in order to maintain American leadership in innovation, the Biden administration must take a stand for IP rights by decisively rejecting the use of the Bayh-Dole Act’s “march-in” provision to control prices.
Passed in 1980, the bipartisan Bayh-Dole Act unleashed American innovation by allowing universities to patent and license their discoveries developed with federal funding. But Dean argues that debate over the use of the law’s “march-in” authority as a price control mechanism — originally intended simply to let the government relicense patents that were not being effectively commercialized — poses an existential threat to inventorship that hangs heavy over scientists and entrepreneurs.
Rather than prolong the uncertainty around “march-in” rights by empowering a government working group, Dean asserts that the Biden administration must put this matter to rest by rejecting the price control theory.
“There’s no surer way to kill off investment in tech development than the constant threat of taking away exclusive patent rights…The Biden administration should stand up decisively for research and entrepreneurship. The debate around misusing march-in has gone on long enough.”