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Shooting ourselves in the foot


Oct. 27, 2011 issue: Obviously, the universe enjoys irony. How else to explain the simultaneous issuance of the President Barack Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness interim report with recommendations that would wreak havoc on university technology transfer, and an article in the Wall Street Journal crediting the same system as one of the three policies that gave us the jobs economy. When asked how he felt about a blunder made by one of his politically appointed generals, President Abraham Lincoln said "It hurts too much to laugh, and I'm too big to cry." When considering these recommendations of the report, it's easy to feel the same way. If adopted, they undermine the Bayh-Dole Act, which allows universities and small companies to own and manage inventions they make with federal funds. There is considerable evidence of the harm such an action would do to the U.S. economy, undercutting the very objectives of the Council. more

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