Technology transfer is the exchange of specialized knowledge between research organizations and firms within countries and, in an increasingly global economy, across borders. It encompasses transactions with intellectual property rights but also partnerships and programs of scientific exchange. The policies shaping the current technology transfer system in the United States are three decades old. While these policies have had some success aligning the needs of government, universities, and industry with the public interest, inadequacies in the system have made reform a necessity. The challenge is to make the technology transfer system a more effective instrument to translate research investments into sustained economic growth, better public health and national security.
On December 6, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a discussion examining ways to reform the U.S. technology transfer system, improve its effectiveness, and address its inadequacies. A panel of experts explored the government’s role in configuring the technology transfer system within the United States and toward other nations; how public policies can support new and competitive industries and facilitate knowledge transfer with U.S. trade partners; and how international standards of patent law can be reformed to address anti-competitive practices.