The main means of assigning discovery rights is “technology transfer.” While a technology transfer agreement may relate to any type of license or transfer of intellectual property between the parties, technology transfer agreements are known as — and this article — the type of agreement by which a university grants research rights to a commercial enterprise. These agreements are the roadmap on how the discovery was put on the market by the laboratory. The law applies to all inventions that are either designed with a federal grant for part of the aid or are reduced to practice. Since most higher education technologies depend on some public support, the applicable higher education policy must be compatible with the Bayh-Dole Act. The fellow will always want to make as few assurances and guarantees as possible about the efficiency and ownership of the technology. The fellow will always want strong promises that the product will work as described and does not violate the rights of third parties. Good negotiations determine where this problem can be solved. In recent years, there have been several reports of undue influence on research studies by proponents of some studies. These include allegations ranging from pressure to report positive results to printing of test data falsification. One company went so far as to sue for defamation against researchers who publish a report that adversely affects the company`s product under review. Some companies even structure technology transfer agreements to gain control over the publication of adverse study reports, allowing companies to postpone these publications. Although technology and intellectual property rights protection have recently increased sharply and technology transfer agreements are commonplace, the concept of technology transfer is not new.
Technology transfer between universities and industry has existed in the United States since at least the 1920s, when some universities were marketing their discoveries. Technology transfers became interesting in the late 1940s, when the Manhattan Project demonstrated the value of university research for national defense. An influential 1945 report to the President, “Science — The Endless Frontier,” argued that university research could serve as a catalyst for economic expansion by increasing the amount of technology available to industry.