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June 15, 2005

Biotechnology Products and University-Based Science

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(23):2861-2863. doi:10.1001/jama.293.23.2862-a

To the Editor: In their Special Communication on university intellectual property,1 Drs Kesselheim and Avorn describe important challenges in ensuring an intellectual property system that promotes technological innovation. In considering the legal fees and operating costs that university technology transfer operations face, there is a dramatically skewed distribution of gross income from technology licensing among research institutions in the United States, and the majority barely covers associated costs.2 Institutions with thriving technology transfer operations either benefit from large amounts of sponsored research money (possibly by chance) or possess a small number of lucrative patents. These factors restrict the hope that technology transfer can independently satisfy attempts to support university research budgets.

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