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Licensing of University Inventions: The Role of a Technology Transfer Office

  • Macho-Stadler Inés



  • Pérez-Castrillo David



  • Veugelers Reinhilde



We provide a theoretical model which helps to explain the specific role of TTOs. Using a framework where firms have incomplete information on the quality of inventions, we develop a reputation argument for the TTO to reduce the asymmetric information problem. Our results indicate that a TTO is often able to benefit from its capacity to pool innovations across research units (and to build a reputation) within universities. It will have an incentive to 'shelve' some of the projects, thus raising the buyer s beliefs on expected quality, which results in fewer but more valuable innovations being sold at higher prices. We explain the importance of a critical size for the TTO in order to be successful as well as the stylized fact that TTOs may lead to fewer licensing agreements, but higher income from innovation transfers.

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Paper provided by Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation in its series Working Papers with number 201022.

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Length: 56
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fbb:wpaper:201022
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  1. Saul Lach & Mark Schankerman, 2008. "Incentives and invention in universities," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25475, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2000. "Who is Selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of Growth in University Licensing," NBER Working Papers 7718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Audretsch, David B & Stephan, Paula E, 1996. "Company-Scientist Locational Links: The Case of Biotechnology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 641-52, June.
  4. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
  5. 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.
  6. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Macho, I. & Martinez-Giralt, X. & Perez-Castrillo, D., 1993. "The Role of Information in Licensing Contract Design," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 216.93, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  8. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
  9. Richard A. Jensen & Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2003. "The Disclosure and Licensing of University Inventions," NBER Working Papers 9734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Chan, Yuk-Shee, 1983. " On the Positive Role of Financial Intermediation in Allocation of Venture Capital in a Market with Imperfect Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(5), pages 1543-68, December.
  11. 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.
  12. Beggs, A. W., 1992. "The licensing of patents under asymmetric information," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 171-191, June.
  13. Maryann Feldman & Irwin Feller & Janet Bercovitz & Richard Burton, 2002. "Equity and the Technology Transfer Strategies of American Research Universities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 105-121, January.
  14. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Brent Goldfarb & Scott A. Shane & Marie C. Thursby, 2003. "Appropriability and the timing of innovation: Evidence from MIT inventions," NBER Working Papers 9735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Bronwyn H. Hall, Albert N. Link and John T. Scott., 2000. "Barriers Inhibiting Industry from Partnering with Universities: Evidence from the Advanced Technology Program," Economics Working Papers E00-290, University of California at Berkeley.
  16. 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.
  17. Friedman, Joseph & Silberman, Jonathan, 2003. "University Technology Transfer: Do Incentives, Management, and Location Matter?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 17-30, January.
  18. Rosenberg, Nathan & Nelson, Richard R., 1994. "American universities and technical advance in industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 323-348, May.
  19. Thomas Hellmann, 2007. "The Role of Patents for Bridging the Science to Market Gap," NBER Chapters, in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Thursby, Jerry G. & Kemp, Sukanya, 2002. "Growth and productive efficiency of university intellectual property licensing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 109-124, January.
  21. Siegel, Donald S. & Waldman, David & Link, Albert, 2003. "Assessing the impact of organizational practices on the relative productivity of university technology transfer offices: an exploratory study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 27-48, January.
  22. Wesley David Sine & Scott Shane & Dante Di Gregorio, 2003. "The Halo Effect and Technology Licensing: The Influence of Institutional Prestige on the Licensing of University Inventions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 478-496, April.
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