Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

Today, Americans for Tax Reform submitted comments urging the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to withdraw its draft interagency guidance framework which would direct federal agencies to consider the price of a product when evaluating its authority to exercise march-in rights.

By allowing the government to seize IP rights for such arbitrary and subjective reasons, life-saving innovations would be stifled and the federal government would be operating outside of its authority under the law.

The Patent and Trademark Law Amendments Act, more commonly known as the Bayh-Dole Act, passed with bipartisan support in 1980. Bayh-Dole allowed academic institutions and businesses to keep ownership of their IP to encourage medical innovation.

The law also included a provision allowing the federal government, if it funded the research, to “march-in” and relicense the institution’s IP in very narrow circumstances, such as if the licensee was not making “good-faith efforts to develop the technology into a usable, real-world product.” The NIST’s Draft Framework would violate these parameters.

Further, if innovators can expect their property rights to be seized on the government’s arbitrary determination of what the price should be, then this certainly would quell medical innovation. It would also harm the pharmaceutical industry, which supports millions of high-paying jobs.

To read ATR’s comments in full, click here or see below.