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US Faculty Patenting: Inside and Outside the University

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  • Jerry Thursby
  • Anne Fuller
  • Marie Thursby

Abstract

This paper examines the empirical anomaly that in a sample of 5811 patents on which US faculty are listed as inventors, 26% of the patents are assigned solely to firms rather than to the faculty member's university as is dictated by US university employment policies or the Bayh Dole Act. In this paper we estimate a series of probability models of assignment as a function of patent characteristics, university policy, and inventor fields in order to examine the extent to which outside assignment is nefarious or comes from legitimate activities, such as consulting. Patents assigned to firms (whether established or start-ups with inventor as principal) are less basic than those assigned to universities suggesting these patents result from faculty consulting. A higher inventor share increases the likelihood of university assignment as compared with assignment to a firm in which the inventor is a principal but it has no effect on consulting with established firms versus assignment to the university. Faculty in the physical sciences and engineering are more likely to assign their patents to established firms than those in biological sciences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13256.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Publication status: published as Thursby, Jerry & Fuller, Anne W. & Thursby, Marie, 2009. "US faculty patenting: Inside and outside the university," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 14-25, February.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13256

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  17. Thursby, Jerry G & Jensen, Richard & Thursby, Marie C, 2001. " Objectives, Characteristics and Outcomes of University Licensing: A Survey of Major U.S. Universities," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, Springer, vol. 26(1-2), pages 59-72, January.
  18. Rothaermel, Frank T. & Thursby, Marie, 2005. "Incubator firm failure or graduation?: The role of university linkages," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1076-1090, September.
  19. Mowery, David C. & Nelson, Richard R. & Sampat, Bhaven N. & Ziedonis, Arvids A., 2001. "The growth of patenting and licensing by U.S. universities: an assessment of the effects of the Bayh-Dole act of 1980," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 99-119, January.
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