Interesting piece in the current Economist about universities’ aggressive patenting policies:
This … highlights the growing concern that American universities are acting more like commercial firms than academic institutions. The 1980 Bayh-Dole act made it easier for universities to commercialise their research; in 2003, American universities earned $1.3 billion from patents (see chart). Many other countries have passed or are considering similar legislation to emulate America’s university licensing system. The benefit is that it enables discoveries to get into the private sector quickly by giving universities a financial incentive.
But it exposes a conflict of interest: universities want to garner licensing revenue, yet rely on using other organisations’ intellectual property for their research.