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Creating the Market University by Elizabeth Popp Berman

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CHAPTER 5

Patenting University Inventions

THE FIRST OF THE PATENTS on Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer’s method for recombining DNA was issued to Stanford University and the University of California in December 1980.1 A few weeks later, President Jimmy Carter signed the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act, more commonly known as the Bayh-Dole Act, into law. The legislation affirmed universities’ right to patent government-funded inventions like Cohen and Boyer’s recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology and encouraged them to do so.2 The Cohen-Boyer patents would become the first blockbusters of the Bayh-Dole era, earning an unprecedented $250 million in revenues over the next seventeen years.3 During this period, dozens of universities ...

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