Joseph Allen & Associates





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Bayh-Dole Act | U.S. Patent System | Public-Private R&D | Research Portfolios | Minorities | The Future of Tech Transfer

Enacting the Historic Bayh-Dole Act

Joseph Allen served as a Professional Staffer on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to former Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN). Allen played a key part in the successful passage of the landmark Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 and its subsequent amendments. The legislation was hailed by the Economist Technology Quarterly as “Possibly the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the past half century… More than anything this single policy measure helped to reverse America’s precipitous slide into industrial irrelevance.”

Allen was awarded the prestigious Bayh-Dole Award by the Association of University Technology Managers in recognition of this achievement.

Restoring Confidence in the U.S. Patent System

Allen was recruited in 1982 to serve as Executive Director of Intellectual Property Owners, Inc. (IPO), a trade association representing major research-intensive companies. Dormant at the time he arrived, the group was reactivated by Allen and soon doubled its membership and income. Most importantly of all, IPO achieved its most important objective - enactment of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The creation of this court was a key feature in restoring lagging confidence in the value and worth of U.S. patents.

Promoting Public-Private Sector R&D Partnerships

Leaving IPO, Allen went to the U.S. Department of Commerce. There he helped establish the office overseeing the implementation of the Bayh-Dole Act for all federal agencies. Serving as the Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization, he aggressively promoted the implementation of the law fighting off attempts to weaken it.

Allen helped create and pass the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986, which opened up the federal laboratory system to collaboration with industry. The Secretary of Commerce presented Allen, Norman Latker, and Tip Parker with a departmental award recognizing this important event. Allen was instrumental in drafting the legally required annual reports to the President and Congress on the implementation - and challenges - federal agencies faced in using this revolutionary new legal tool.

Allen later chaired the Interagency Committee on Technology Transfer and was a key negotiator in international agreements with Japan, the U.S.S.R., Hungary, and Spain, guaranteeing that discoveries made by visiting scientists in our laboratories and universities would be owned by the U.S. host organizations. He also helped stop attempts to weaken the Bayh-Dole Act in the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

Managing Research Portfolios

In 1992, Allen was asked to help restructure the National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC), created by Congress to support technology transfer between the federal laboratories and industry. Allen was elevated to President of the NTTC where he served for seven years.

The Center served clients such as NASA, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in managing and commercializing their multi-billion dollar research portfolios.

Realizing that providing in-depth training was essential for improving performance, under Allen’s leadership the NTTC developed highly-effective training courses. Using the mantra “if you haven’t done it, you can’t teach it,” only those with years of proven success in the marketplace were utilized as teachers.

Allen was also part of a team funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development to assist the new independent government of Poland in integrating its research universities into a free enterprise system.

He helped create a world-class Advisory Board at the NTTC. Allen also created services to help federal laboratories assess early stage technologies, identifying those with commercial potential and linking them with commercial partners in win-win deals.

In 2004, most of the programs hosted by the NTTC migrated to a new organization, the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation. Allen served as the Vice President and General Manager of the Intellectual Property Management Group that oversaw programs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Opening the Profession to Minorities

Recognizing that technology management was fast becoming a demanded skill in the world economy, Allen also saw that the profession was woefully underrepresented by minorities. He was instrumental in creating a unique program, the Entrepreneurial Technology Apprentice Program. This program, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, recruited promising students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, putting them through an intensive “boot camp” teaching the basics of technology management, and placing them in prominent companies, universities, and federal agencies where they gained valuable experience. More than 90% of the students completing this program went on to graduate school or into employment in the profession.

The Future of Tech Transfer

In late 2007, seeing that new challenges were arising with the potential to undermine the U.S. technology transfer system, Allen saw that the time was ripe to found Allen & Associates.