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Technology transfer contracts between R&D labs and commercial partners: choose your words wisely


  • Richard Franza


  • Kevin Grant
  • W. Spivey


Our study is motivated by the problems encountered by external collaborators, particularly those between research and development laboratories and commercial partners, when writing technology transfer contracts. Kruskal–Wallis one-way nonparametric Analyses of Variance are used to analyze Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) from a national, Department of Defense laboratory in the United States of America. The CRADA information elements serve as the independent variables for the study. Benefits accrued by the laboratory serve as the dependent variable. The results highlight the link between information asymmetry and technology transfer and the connection between benefits obtained and contract specificity. Quantifying royalty streams in the CRADA increases the likelihood of achieving of these royalty payments. Too much contract detail may boomerang: limiting laboratory image enhancement, harming employee morale, and impeding efficient and effective laboratory management. Always, technology transfer involves a bargain: a contract where tacit knowledge must be nurtured and the amount of specificity managed. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Franza & Kevin Grant & W. Spivey, 2012. "Technology transfer contracts between R&D labs and commercial partners: choose your words wisely," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 577-587, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jtecht:v:37:y:2012:i:4:p:577-587
    DOI: 10.1007/s10961-010-9191-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kathryn E. Spier, 1992. "Incomplete Contracts and Signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 432-443, Autumn.
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    6. Nancy T. Gallini & Brian D. Wright, 1990. "Technology Transfer under Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 147-160, Spring.
    7. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
    8. Bozeman, Barry, 2000. "Technology transfer and public policy: a review of research and theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 627-655, April.
    9. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rosa Caiazza & Aileen Richardson & David Audretsch, 2015. "Knowledge effects on competitiveness: from firms to regional advantage," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 40(6), pages 899-909, December.


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