Celebrating the Value of IP Every Day

By at 6 May, 2022, 10:15 am


By Karen Kerrigan –

April 26 was “World IP Day 2022,” and similar to Small Business Week, SBE Council celebrates intellectual property – and the need to protect it – as a driving force behind innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth, every day. We were pleased to lead an ad campaign throughout the week of April 26, recognizing the importance of this day with many of our IP and small business allies.

ICYMI: Attacks on Bayh-Dole are Attacks on Small Business

On April 26, I participated in an important event highlighting the critical need to protect and strengthen IP. The longstanding and very successful Bayh-Dole Act is under attack, as those opposed to IP rights want to impose price controls on some drugs that emerge from academic patent licenses, which would open the door to price controls on the many other innovations in academic research institutions, federal laboratories and within small companies where federal funding is used. Under Bayh-Dole, approximately 70% of academic patent licenses go to small companies. You can watch a recording of the discussion here.

Misusing March-in Rights for Price Controls: A Dagger to the Heart of Small Companies

Joe Allen, Executive Director of the Bayh-Dole Coalition, of which SBE Council is a member, summarized the content of our April 26 panel discussion in a piece for IP Watchdog.

In the piece, he asks: “These companies must secure venture funding to operate. What would happen if the Mad Hatter world the critics envision came into being?”  That is, if the foundational IP rights provided by the Bayh-Dole Act were walked back, ignored or discarded? The various participants answered:

“Devastating.” The unraveling of Bayh-Dole, and what that would do from an IP perspective, would just be devastating I think for many of these startup small businesses…. And for the future of U.S. innovation, particularly where we have a density of brain power and great ideas and great collaboration at the university level. I just think about all the innovations that just would not come to be. And obviously that would impact the U.S. economy, our innovative capacity, our competitiveness.Karen Kerrigan, president & CEO, SBE Council

“I wouldn’t be competitive.” It’s just such a very easy answer, as I wouldn’t be able to raise capital, because I wouldn’t be competitive. If I’m encumbered in a way that none of the other companies that are out there vying for the same funding dollars that I’m vying for are, then it’s not a level playing field. So as an entrepreneur, fine, I can continue to be an entrepreneur. I would just choose assets that don’t involve university licenses because they’d be toxic. – Peter Falzon, CEO of Ripple Science, founded on a University of Michigan technology. This is the eighth company he’s founded on Bayh-Dole inventions– seven of them are alive and well, employing thousands of people.

“Investment would fall off a cliff.” We wanted to send a really clear signal about what this does to the capital market. Karen put it eloquently, we are cowards and that’s because we’re stewards of other people’s money. And we are prepared to shoulder great risk and great burden in terms of entrepreneurial training, but we can’t shoulder price controls…

And eventually it means—and the reason we feel so strongly about this is – it means our ruin. That third leg that I described earlier, is no longer certain if you add more risk. We brought seven leading VCs to Washington last September, and this is their phrasing – that investment would fall off a cliff. And that is because we simply cannot stomach price controls in our system. And we feel like we’ve been really clear about that.  – John Stanford, Executive Director, Incubate Coalition comprised of venture funds for early-stage life science companies.

“Detrimental impact.” They’re [startup companies] trying to perfect the product itself. They’re trying to stay focused on critical goals. They’re trying to balance their jobs, university positions and venture funding, finding the right partners, looking for early-stage venture capital. So, they have a lot of moving parts.

And if you then throw in the uncertainty of their prices being micromanaged by somebody like a federal entity, you are again, throwing in another big variable that only would be, in my opinion, of detrimental impact to the commercialization of the technology. – Joy Goswami, Assistant Director of the Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships at the University of Delaware.

Read the article that highlights all the important topics discussed here.

World IP Day: Intellectual Property is a Big Economic Positive for U.S.

In a blog post, SBE Council chief economist Ray Keating explains how important intellectual property investment is to the U.S. economy, including how it has long run ahead of much of the rest of the economy.

As the global leader in innovation, and recognizing the leadership role the U.S. plays in urging other nation’s to adopt and secure property and IP rights in order to advance economic freedom, entrepreneurship and prosperity, the U.S. cannot send mixed messages about this foundational right. Efforts aimed at undermining IP rights must be fought and stopped. IP rights must be strengthened, upheld, and celebrated every day.

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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