Document Type


Publication Date



This article will use the NIH patent controversy as a focal point for considering when the results of government-sponsored research should be patented and when they should be dedicated to the public domain. First, this article will review the recent history of federal government policy on patenting the results of government-sponsored research. Next, this article will highlight some of the complexities involved in achieving technology transfer from the public sector to the private sector that current policy may oversimplify. With this background, this article will return to a more detailed analysis of the NIH cDNA patenting controversy and consider the lessons it may hold for technology transfer policy generally.