Judd Gregg Likes Columbia…A Little Too Much

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As Bwog reported, Columbia Alum Judd Gregg is Obama’s pick for Commerce Secretary. The New Hampshire Senator has kept a relationship with Columbia, a connection that may have motivated some ethically-questionable legislative maneuvering.

In 2000, Gregg attached an amendment to an agriculture bill extending a patent for a biomedical process owned by Columbia. The patent was originally issued in 1983 and was bringing in around $100 million in annual revenue for the University.

After a slew of pharmaceutical industry lawsuits, Columbia eventually relinquished its claims to royalties. However, if confirmed, Gregg will control the patent office, so maybe he can throw Columbia an extra $100 million per year. 



  1. ...

    Am I supposed to feel bad for the poor little pharmaceutical companies which were hurt by that legislation?

  2. reckless  

    hey bwog, kind of a reckless statement to say it is 'ethically-questionable,' he never denied being an alumnus here, and i think that his stance on broadening intellectual property to include work done by universities is necessary. I think he makes a good argument, and frankly if Pharmas can lobby to the tune of a couple hundred million dollars a year, what's it to you that Columbia called on a friend to openly support a cause that ought to be fought?

  3. Alum

    Pharmaceutical companies receive patent extensions all the time, and they do so by the same method -- getting a friendly legislator to include it in a bill dealing with something else. Gregg's actions are noteworthy only because they would have benefited a non-profit instead of a corporation.

  4. This is false  

    In fact, patent revenue on the technology between 1983 and 2000 totaled 280million$. That is far less than "100 million a year" reported by this article.

    For more resources see, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D00E4DE113AF932A15756C0A9669C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

    And for accurate reporting, see cubpub.org

    • Alum

      Why do you say that? The first sentence of the NY Times article you cite says that the patent "brings the university about $100 million a year in revenue." The IPWatchdog page says only that it generated "hundreds of millions of dollars" for Columbia.

      The $100M/yr statistic has been cited for many years -- often by Columbia itself -- and I have never seen anyone disagree with it.

      Btw, $100M/yr is how much the patent brought in at its peak. It didn't earn that much throughout its 17-year lifespan. I have heard CU officials say that the university received over $600M in total from the patent. That's in addition to however much Prof. Richard Axel (the inventor) received personally.

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