In an unusually candid letter to MIT President Karl Compton, an official from Lee Laboratories related that many in industry were upset to learn that MIT was creating an official patent policy. Many companies were bringing work to MIT because it lacked such a policy. In the depths of the Great Depression and desperate for income, the fact that the Institute could profit from its inventions was of considerable interest to the MIT administration. Professor Vannevar Bush led the effort to draft a patent policy in 1931 that was subsequently approved by the faculty in 1932. The policy made clear what inventions and discoveries would be considered property of MIT and how the Institute would determine if it wished to retain or return those rights. Today, the Technology Licensing Office goes many steps further to facilitate specific industry-Institute partnerships and to develop appropriate licensing arrangements.
On loan from the Institute Archives and Special Collections.