The Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 offers private industry the opportunity to enter into cooperative research and development agreements with scientists in federal laboratories and to gain rights in intellectual property resulting from such collaborations. Increased collaborations with private industry, however, expands the potential for conflicts of interest. Resolution of the tensions between the Technology Transfer Act and federal conflict of interest rules is important because federal laboratories, such as the NIH, are experiencing a loss of senior scientists to universities and private industry due to inadequate compensation. These tensions may be resolved by some combination of policies, regulations, and legislation aimed at permitting government scientists to hold certain carefully defined financial interests in inventions resulting from industry collaboration, and to pursue simultaneously other outside activities, such as consulting for different companies.
Thomas N. Bulleit Jr., Public-Private Partnerships in Biomedical Research: Resolving Conflicts of Interest Arising under the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986, 4 J.L. & Health 1 (1989-1990)