The Bayh-Dole Act Research & History Central - Founding Fathers - Senator Robert Dole

Senator Robert Dole


Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole (born July 22, 1923) is an attorney and retired United States Senator from Kansas from 1969–1996, serving part of that time as United States Senate Majority Leader, where he set a record as the longest-serving Republican leader.

Senator Dole was working on the problem of federal patent policies independently of Sen. Bayh in 1978. They discovered their mutual interest in the issue, and decided to collaborate to change the direction of the ineffective agency policies. It was agreed that Sen. Dole would introduce the first bill in the late 95th Congress with Sen. Bayh as principal co-sponsor so comments could be gathered when it was reintroduced the next year as Bayh-Dole. Senator Dole actively participated in all of the activities leading to the bill's passage.

With the defeat of Sen. Bayh in 1980 and with the Republicans taking control of the Senate, Dole assumed the leadership in protecting the new law. The necessary implementing regulations needed to bring the law into effect were fiercely resisted by the Department of Energy (DOE). This led to a two year battle before acceptable regulations were finally in place. Aware of continuing DOE resistance to the bill, Dole pushed through revisions to the law in 1982 and again in 1984 bringing university operated federal laboratories under the protections of the law, and moving oversight of Bayh-Dole to the Department of Commerce.

In his 1984 bill, Dole proposed expanding the concepts of Bayh-Dole to the federal laboratories, but as the House did not have comparable legislation this was not accepted at the time. This provision was enacted in 1986, but since Senator Dole had left the Senate Judiciary Committee the bill was re-written by the Senate Commerce Committee as an amendment to the Stevenson-Wydler Act rather than Bayh-Dole. This legislation became known as the Federal Technology Transfer Act, becoming a landmark change in how federal laboratory technologies are managed.

The principles of the Bayh-Dole Act and the Federal Technology Transfer Act were embraced by President Reagan under Executive Order 12591, which remains the guiding document for federal technology transfer policies.



Private Papers



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