The Bayh-Dole Act, often credited with the explosion of university technology transfer, requires universities to incentivize invention disclosure by sharing the royalties generated by patent licensing with inventors. Many scholars have debated the effectiveness of university implementation of this requirement, and, indeed, the low rate of invention disclosure by academic researchers to the university is often a bottleneck in the technology-transfer process.
Unfortunately, most discussions focusing on inventor compliance with Bayh-Dole Act requirements have explored faculty-inventor motivations. However, in most cases, university inventions are joint products of a group of university members including not only faculty but also post-doctoral researchers or graduate students. This collaborative nature of scientific research seems to have been lost in the design of the technology-transfer system. Some scholars have discussed inventorship determinations and the impact of incorrect inventor identification in pre-America Invents Act patent law. Generally, however, the dynamic interactions between joint inventors with different positions within the university are a little studied area of the technology-transfer process.
Less well studied is the Bayh-Dole Act requirement that all inventors share in the revenue from a university licensed patent. The distribution of licensing revenue among inventors creates a question of how to divide the portion of the royalties allocated to inventors by the university. This Article explores that revenue distribution. To the extent that the university asks the input of the inventors, many of the problems in the initial recognition of students and post-doctoral fellows as joint inventors become again important in assigning a percentage of the revenue. Additionally, the negotiation power imbalance between joint inventors may indicate that the university should play a larger role in revenue allocation than it does in initial inventor determinations.
"Intellectual Property Revenue Sharing as a Problem for University Technology Transfer,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 49:
3, Article 2.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol49/iss3/2