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Patent and Invention Policy

PATENT & INVENTION Policy document


The patent and invention policy at Northwestern University largely stems from the Bayh-Dole Act, also known as the Government Patent Policy Act of 1980, which was enacted largely to stimulate economic and entrepreneurial activity by promoting the commercialization of inventions stemming from federally funded research.  Specifically, the provisions of the Bayh-Dole Act allow universities to retain ownership of as well as manage the patenting and licensing for those inventions.  (See below for an excerpt of this legislation.)  Further, the university is mandated to comply with the sponsored research specifications by the government, industry partners or non-profit entities that require the reporting of innovations.

Northwestern Policy

Northwestern University seeks to incentivize inventors—faculty, staff and students--and the commercialization of university innovations while continuing to invest in future research that builds the pipeline of inventions.  Our patent policy defines the covered inventors and details of the intellectual property and provides the structure by which we support the life cycle of novel ideas/technologies (patent prosecution, licenses, distribution of royalties, etc.).

Bayh-Dole Act (35 U.S.C. §§ 200-212) Excerpt

The Bayh-Dole Act specifically states that it is the policy and objective of the Congress to use the patent system to: