Georgia Tech Celebrates 786 Patents Thanks to Tech Transfer Law

The Georgia Institute of Technology celebrates this month the 30th anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act, landmark federal legislation that has driven Tech’s innovation from campus to the marketplace.

Since the law’s passage in December 1980, Georgia Tech has secured 786 patents and 592 active licenses for innovative devices and products, widely disseminating the benefits of the Institute’s discoveries.

“The Bayh-Dole Act allowed universities to own the intellectual property developed through federally sponsored research to both facilitate innovation and to create new economic development opportunities,” said Stephen Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech.

Adopted in 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act gave universities, as well as small businesses and non-profits, ownership of the innovations that result from federally funded research.  The bill encouraged Georgia Tech and other research institutions to patent their inventions, license the findings to companies, create goods and services for the market and share the royalties with the inventors.

The Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) was established to advance research and technology at the Institute and encourage entrepreneurship through its stewardship of funds. Through technology transfer, GTRC enables the Institute to maintain beneficial partnerships with public and private sectors in research and technology.

Following are some of Georgia Tech’s notable startups and technologies under the Bayh-Dole Act:

  • CardioMEMS Inc. is a medical device company formed around microelectromechanical systems technology licensed from the Georgia Tech Research Corporation and MIT in 2001. CardioMEMS has developed multiple wireless sensing and communication devices designed to improve the management of cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, hypertension and aneurysms.
  • MedShape Solutions is dedicated to restoring human motion by innovating unique shape memory orthopedic devices. By using shape memory devices, surgeons are able to use smaller incisions, complete stronger surgical repairs and promote faster healing of damaged bones and tissues.
  • Nyloboard uses 100 percent recycled carpet fibers and no wood in manufacturing, which means less carpet ends up in landfills. Studies by the EPA show that 4 billion pounds of carpet are being dumped into the nation's landfills annually. Unlike pressed-wood products such as particleboard and fiberboard, Nyloboard contributes no pesticides or chemicals to contaminate soil and water.
  • Behavior Capture use small cameras placed in a child’s environments to observe and analyze activities that may trigger a behavioral episode in children with autism. Specialists use the video to understand the underlying cause of the behavior and tailor therapies accordingly.

Georgia Tech has been able to recruit top tier faculty and secure increasing levels of sponsored funding thanks in part to the Bayh-Dole Act.  In fiscal 2010, Georgia Tech received $557.8 million in sponsored awards, a milestone for the Institute.