Does inventor ownership encourage university research-derived entrepreneurship? A six university comparison
This paper examines whether university ownership of inventions made by its personnel best serves the widely held social goals of encouraging technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. Using a hand-collected census of technology-based university spin-offs from six universities, one of which is the University of Waterloo and the only inventor ownership university in North America, we compare the number and type of spin-offs produced by these universities. We find suggestive evidence that inventor ownership universities can be more efficient in generating spin-offs on both per faculty and per R&D dollar expended perspective. We find that the field of computer sciences and electrical engineering generates a greater number of spin-offs than do our other two categories - the biomedical sciences, and the field of engineering and the physical sciences. In general, our results demonstrate that inventor ownership can be extremely productive of spin-offs. From these results, we suggest that governments seeking to encourage university invention commercialization and entrepreneurship should experiment with an inventor ownership system.
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