Albert N. Link, John T. Scott, Donald S. Siegel (2003) “The economics of intellectual property at universities: an overview of the special issue." international Journal of Industrial Organization, 21 (2003) 1217–1225. [PDF]
In recent years, there has been a substantial rise in the rate of commercialization of university-based technologies—through patenting, licensing, research joint ventures, and the formation of startup companies. We have also witnessed an increase in investment in science parks and other property-based institutions that facilitate the transfer of technology from universities to firms. Although some have questioned cause and effect (e.g., Mowery et al., 2001), most commentators attribute a substantial portion of this activity to the Bayh–Dole Act of 1980, which dramatically changed the incentives of U.S. universities to commercialize their intellectual property. Bayh–Dole instituted a uniform patent policy across federal agencies, removed many restrictions on licensing, and most importantly, allowed universities, rather than the federal government, to own patents arising from federal research grants.