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Reconsidering the Bayh-Dole Act and the Current University Invention Ownership Model

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  • Kenney, Martin
  • Patton, Donald
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    Abstract

    The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 provided U.S. universities with the right to commercialize employees' inventions made while engaged in government-funded research. This paper argues that the current university invention ownership model, in which universities maintain de jure ownership of inventions, is not optimal either in terms of economic efficiency or for advancing the social interest of rapidly commercializing technology and encouraging entrepreneurship. We argue that this model is plagued by ineffective incentives, information asymmetries, and contradictory motivations for the university, the inventors, potential licensees, and university technology licensing offices (TLOs). These structural uncertainties can lead to delays in licensing, misaligned incentives among parties, and obstacles to the flow of scientific information and the materials necessary for scientific progress. The institutional arrangements within which TLOs are embedded have encouraged some of them to become revenue maximizers, rather than facilitators of technology dissemination for the good of the entire society. We suggest two alternative invention commercialization models as superior alternatives. The first alternative is to vest ownership with the inventor, who could choose the commercialization path for the invention. For this privilege the inventor would provide the university an ownership stake in any returns to the invention. The inventor would be free to contract with the university TLO or any other entity that might assist in commercialization. The second alternative is to make all inventions immediately publicly available through a public domain strategy or, through a requirement that all inventions be licensed non-exclusively. Both alternatives would address the current dysfunctional arrangements in university technology commercialization.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 9 (November)
    Pages: 1407-1422

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:38:y:2009:i:9:p:1407-1422

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

    Related research

    Keywords: Bayh-Dole Act University-industry relationships Patents Inventor ownership University ownership;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Jacobsson, Staffan & Lindholm-Dahlstrand, Åsa & Elg, Lennart, 2013. "Is the commercialization of European academic R&D weak?—A critical assessment of a dominant belief and associated policy responses," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 874-885.
    2. Guido Buenstorf & Alexander Schacht, 2011. "We need to talk - or do we? Geographic distance and the commercialization of technologies from public research," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-061, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
    3. Aldridge, T. Taylor & Audretsch, David, 2011. "The Bayh-Dole Act and scientist entrepreneurship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1058-1067, October.
    4. Bradley, Samantha R. & Hayter, Christopher S. & Link, Albert N., 2013. "Models and Methods of University Technology Transfer," Working Papers 13-10, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
    5. Johnson, William H.A., 2011. "Managing university technology development using organizational control theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 842-852, July.
    6. Wipo, 2011. "World Intellectual Property Report 2011- The Changing Face of Innovation," WIPO Economics & Statistics Series, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division, number 2011:944.
    7. Sterzi, Valerio, 2013. "Patent quality and ownership: An analysis of UK faculty patenting," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 564-576.
    8. Kenney, Martin & Patton, Donald, 2011. "Does inventor ownership encourage university research-derived entrepreneurship? A six university comparison," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1100-1112, October.
    9. Walsh, John P. & Huang, Hsini, 2014. "Local context, academic entrepreneurship and open science: Publication secrecy and commercial activity among Japanese and US scientists," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 245-260.
    10. Glenna, Leland L. & Welsh, Rick & Ervin, David & Lacy, William B. & Biscotti, Dina, 2011. "Commercial science, scientists' values, and university biotechnology research agendas," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 957-968, September.
    11. Sterzi, Valerio, 2011. "Academic patent value and knowledge transfer in the UK. Does patent ownership matter?," MPRA Paper 34955, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Hugo Pinto, 2011. "Knowledge Transfer in the Mirror: Reflections on the Determinants of Research Groups and Companies Collaborative Patterns within Andalusia's Regional Innovation System," ERSA conference papers ersa11p212, European Regional Science Association.
    13. Fini, Riccardo & Grimaldi, Rosa & Santoni, Simone & Sobrero, Maurizio, 2011. "Complements or substitutes? The role of universities and local context in supporting the creation of academic spin-offs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1113-1127, October.
    14. Wennberg, Karl & Wiklund, Johan & Wright, Mike, 2011. "The effectiveness of university knowledge spillovers: Performance differences between university spinoffs and corporate spinoffs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1128-1143, October.

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