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The impact of the abolishment of the professor’s privilege on European university-owned patents

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  • Catalina Martínez
  • Valerio Sterzi

Abstract

Intellectual property regimes governing university inventions were quite diverse in Europe at the end of the 1990s. Several European countries maintained the so-called professor’s privilege, an exception to employment law whereby university researchers were allowed to retain the ownership of academic inventions. The 2000s were characterised by convergence towards a more homogeneous system, in which university administrations took control of IP management. We investigate the impact of the reform and we observe a decline in the technological importance and the value of the patents owned and managed by universities in the countries abolishing the professor’s privilege. On the contrary, by differentiating the academic patents by type of ownership, we find that the technological importance of academic patents owned by companies has instead increased. Our study produces some new results that may alert policymakers to the possible unintended consequences of the university ownership model.

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  • Catalina Martínez & Valerio Sterzi, 2021. "The impact of the abolishment of the professor’s privilege on European university-owned patents," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 247-282, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:28:y:2021:i:3:p:247-282
    DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2019.1709421
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    1. Li, Yang & Tang, Yujie, 2021. "A dynamic capabilities perspective on pro-market reforms and university technology transfer in a transition economy," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).

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    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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