Federal policy since 1980 has reflected an increasingly confident presumption that patenting discoveries made in the course of government-sponsored research is the most effective way to promote technology transfer and commercial development of those discoveries in the private sector. Policymakers in the past may have thought that the best way to achieve widespread use of government-sponsored research was to make the results freely available to the public; the new pro-patent policy stresses the need for exclusive rights as an incentive for industry to invest in bringing new products to market.
Eisenberg, Rebecca S. "Limiting the Role of Patents in Technology Transfer." Law Quad. Notes 37, no. 1 (1994): 40-3. (Adapted from remarks presented to the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 1993.)