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Government sponsorship and nature of patenting activity of US universities and corporations


  • Kyriakos Drivas
  • Claire Economidou


This paper studies the relationship between government sponsorship and nature of innovation produced by US universities and corporations. Using detailed patent data information and, in particular, from the patent document wrapper, where the applicant is obliged to disclose any federal support, we examine whether (i) federally funded patented innovations are more basic than their non-federally funded peers, and (ii) federally funded corporate and university patented innovations are very different from their existed research agenda. Our results strongly support that federally funded corporate patents are more basic in nature, while the evidence for universities is less nuanced. Also less pronounced and conclusive are the findings about university patented inventions and their ties to university's own research agenda. Results, however, may vary depending on university (corporation) size. While the federal government finances high-risk basic projects, it appears that some firms do not incorporate them in their overall research portfolio.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyriakos Drivas & Claire Economidou, 2013. "Government sponsorship and nature of patenting activity of US universities and corporations," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(8), pages 775-806, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:22:y:2013:i:8:p:775-806
    DOI: 10.1080/10438599.2013.788286

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Michael S. Fogarty, 2000. "The Meaning of Patent Citations: Report on the NBER/Case-Western Reserve Survey of Patentees," NBER Working Papers 7631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel, 1996. "Trade in ideas Patenting and productivity in the OECD," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 251-278, May.
    4. Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson & Adam Jaffe, 1992. "Ivory Tower Versus Corporate Lab: An Empirical Study of Basic Research and Appropriability," NBER Working Papers 4146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Conti, M & R├ęgibeau, P & Rockett, K, 2003. "How Basic is (Patented) University Research? The Case of GM Crops," Economics Discussion Papers 2846, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Drivas, Kyriakos & Economidou, Claire & Karamanis, Dimitris & Zank, Arleen, 2014. "Academic Patents and Technology Transfer," MPRA Paper 57476, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Hiroyuki Okamuro & Junichi Nishimura, 2015. "Not just financial support? Another role of public subsidy in university-industry research collaborations," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(7), pages 633-659, October.
    3. Okamuro, Hiroyuki & Nishimura, Junichi, 2018. "Whose business is your project? A comparative study of different subsidy policy schemes for collaborative R&D," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 85-96.
    4. Nishimura, Junichi & Okamuro, Hiroyuki, 2018. "Internal and external discipline: The effect of project leadership and government monitoring on the performance of publicly funded R&D consortia," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 840-853.

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