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Inventor moral hazard in university licensing: The role of contracts

  • Dechenaux, Emmanuel
  • Thursby, Jerry
  • Thursby, Marie

Abstract We examine commonly observed forms of payment, such as milestones, royalties, or consulting contracts as ways of engaging inventors in the development of licensed inventions. Our theoretical model shows that when milestones are feasible, royalties are not optimal unless the licensing firm is risk averse. The model also predicts the use of consulting contracts which improve the firm's ability to monitor inventor effort. Because these contracts increase the firm's expected profits, the upfront fee that the university can charge is higher than otherwise. These results therefore support the commonly observed university policy of allowing faculty to consult with licensing firms outside of their university contracts. They also support firm policies of including milestones. An empirical analysis based on a survey of 112 businesses that license-in university inventions supports the complementarity of milestones and consulting suggested by the theory.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 40 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 94-104

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:40:y:2011:i:1:p:94-104
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  1. Jeannette Colyvas & Michael Crow & Annetine Gelijns & Roberto Mazzoleni & Richard R. Nelson & Nathan Rosenberg & Bhaven N. Sampat, 2002. "How Do University Inventions Get Into Practice?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 61-72, January.
  2. 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.
  3. Marie Thursby & Richard Jensen, 2001. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Licensing of University Inventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 240-259, March.
  4. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2003. "Are Faculty Critical? Their Role in University-Industry Licensing," NBER Working Papers 9991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Di Gregorio, Dante & Shane, Scott, 2003. "Why do some universities generate more start-ups than others?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 209-227, February.
  6. Jerry Thursby & Anne Fuller & Marie Thursby, 2007. "US Faculty Patenting: Inside and Outside the University," NBER Working Papers 13256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2007. "University licensing," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 620-639, Winter.
  8. Saul Lach & Mark Schankerman, 2003. "Incentives and invention in universities," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  9. Partha, Dasgupta & David, Paul A., 1994. "Toward a new economics of science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 487-521, September.
  10. Dechenaux, Emmanuel & Thursby, Marie & Thursby, Jerry, 2009. "Shirking, sharing risk and shelving: The role of university license contracts," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 80-91, January.
  11. Keith E. Maskus, 2000. "Intellectual Property Rights in the Global Economy," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 99.
  12. Macho-Stadler Inés & Pérez-Castrillo David & Veugelers Reinhilde, 2007. "Designing Contracts for University Spin-offs," Working Papers 201071, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation.
  13. Thursby, Marie & Thursby, Jerry & Gupta-Mukherjee, Swasti, 2007. "Are there real effects of licensing on academic research? A life cycle view," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 577-598, August.
  14. Richard Jensen & Jerry Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2010. "University-Industry Spillovers, Government Funding, and Industrial Consulting," NBER Working Papers 15732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Perkmann, Markus & Walsh, Kathryn, 2008. "Engaging the scholar: Three types of academic consulting and their impact on universities and industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1884-1891, December.
  16. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-32, March.
  17. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "On the Management of Innovation," IDEI Working Papers 36, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  19. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Martinez-Giralt, Xavier & David Perez-Castrillo, J., 1996. "The role of information in licensing contract design," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-57, January.
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  23. Anand, Bharat N & Khanna, Tarun, 2000. "The Structure of Licensing Contracts," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 103-35, March.
  24. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2002. "Who Is Selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of Growth in University Licensing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 90-104, January.
  25. Caves, Richard E & Crookell, Harold & Killing, J Peter, 1983. "The Imperfect Market for Technology Licenses," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 45(3), pages 249-67, August.
  26. Ashish Arora & Andrea Fosfuri & Alfonso Gambardella, 2004. "Markets for Technology: The Economics of Innovation and Corporate Strategy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262511819, June.
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