December 28, 2007

Senator Birch Bayh, Chinese IP officials discuss Bayh-Dole Act's impact on the commercialization of government-funded research

2 min


Beijing, China (12/28/07) - Former Senator Birch Bayh, widely recognized as the driving force behind 1980's landmark Bayh-Dole patent reform act met earlier this week with more than 70 members of the Chinese government's intellectual property offices to discuss the impact of the Act on the economy of the United States as well as the impact that legislation based on the Bayh-Dole Act has had on the economies of countries such as Brazil, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The Act fundamentally overhauled the United States' patent system, allowing universities to own and license the patents for innovations discovered in the course of federally funded research. The result was an explosion in the number of patent applications submitted by American universities and a sharp increase in the number of university-owned patents licensed to private companies and brought to market.

In 2002, The Economist called Bayh-Dole "Possibly the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the past half century."

Bayh was joined during the presentation by Zhang Qin, Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office and Deputy Director General of NISPO. Bayh was invited to make his presentation by Dr. Zhang and was coordinated by the U.S. Embassy (Beijing) Intellectual Property Section, headed by Mr. Mark Cohen. Dr. Zhang joined Bayh in a vigorous question and answer discussion following his remarks. Bayh had extensive interaction with the many Chinese officials who attended the event. During the meeting, attendees acknowledged the importance of Bayh-Dole and revealed that the Chinese government is examining ways to craft legislation that would follow the Act's structure and implementation.

"The PRC's booming economy and tremendous human capital provides tremendous opportunity for the Chinese people across this great nation," Bayh said after his presentation. "As China strengthens its patent protections and recognizes the importance of transparency and impartiality within its judicial system, the conditions are right to enact legislation that can jumpstart the country's research and development industry and foster a new generation of entrepreneurial companies."

One of the American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has attorneys practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia. For more, visit