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Licensing of university inventions: The role of a technology transfer office

  • Macho-Stadler, Ines
  • Perez-Castrillo, David
  • Veugelers, Reinhilde

We provide a theoretical model which helps to explain the specific role of TTOs. Using a framework where firms have incomplete information on the quality of inventions, we develop a reputation argument for the TTO to reduce the asymmetric information problem. Our results indicate that a TTO is often able to benefit from its capacity to pool innovations across research units (and to build a reputation) within universities. It will have an incentive to 'shelve' some of the projects, thus raising the buyer s beliefs on expected quality, which results in fewer but more valuable innovations being sold at higher prices. We explain the importance of a critical size for the TTO in order to be successful as well as the stylized fact that TTOs may lead to fewer licensing agreements, but higher income from innovation transfers.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 25 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 483-510

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:25:y:2007:i:3:p:483-510
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  12. Friedman, Joseph & Silberman, Jonathan, 2003. " University Technology Transfer: Do Incentives, Management, and Location Matter?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 17-30, January.
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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, vol. 26(1-2), pages 59-72, January.
  18. Richard A. Jensen & Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2003. "The Disclosure and Licensing of University Inventions," NBER Working Papers 9734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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