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US Faculty Patenting: Inside and Outside the University

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  • Jerry Thursby
  • Anne Fuller
  • Marie Thursby

Abstract

This paper examines the empirical anomaly that in a sample of 5811 patents on which US faculty are listed as inventors, 26% of the patents are assigned solely to firms rather than to the faculty member's university as is dictated by US university employment policies or the Bayh Dole Act. In this paper we estimate a series of probability models of assignment as a function of patent characteristics, university policy, and inventor fields in order to examine the extent to which outside assignment is nefarious or comes from legitimate activities, such as consulting. Patents assigned to firms (whether established or start-ups with inventor as principal) are less basic than those assigned to universities suggesting these patents result from faculty consulting. A higher inventor share increases the likelihood of university assignment as compared with assignment to a firm in which the inventor is a principal but it has no effect on consulting with established firms versus assignment to the university. Faculty in the physical sciences and engineering are more likely to assign their patents to established firms than those in biological sciences.

Suggested Citation

  • Jerry Thursby & Anne Fuller & Marie Thursby, 2007. "US Faculty Patenting: Inside and Outside the University," NBER Working Papers 13256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13256
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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