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US Faculty Patenting: Inside and Outside the University

  • Jerry Thursby
  • Anne Fuller
  • Marie Thursby

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13256.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13256.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Publication status: published as Thursby, Jerry & Fuller, Anne W. & Thursby, Marie, 2009. "US faculty patenting: Inside and outside the university," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 14-25, February.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13256
Note: IO LE PR
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  1. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv.
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  3. Di Gregorio, Dante & Shane, Scott, 2003. "Why do some universities generate more start-ups than others?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 209-227, February.
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  5. Finn Valentin & Rasmus Jensen, 2007. "Effects on academia-industry collaboration of extending university property rights," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 251-276, June.
  6. 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.
  7. Hausman, Jerry & McFadden, Daniel, 1984. "Specification Tests for the Multinomial Logit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1219-40, September.
  8. Henderson, R. & Jaffe, A.B.: Tratenberg, M., 1995. "Universities as a Source of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis of University Patenting 1965-1988," Papers 09-95, Tel Aviv.
  9. Geuna, Aldo & Nesta, Lionel J.J., 2006. "University patenting and its effects on academic research: The emerging European evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 790-807, July.
  10. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Sabrina Saragossi, 2003. "What patent data reveals about universities: the case of Belgium," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6211, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Macho-Stadler Inés & Pérez-Castrillo David & Veugelers Reinhilde, 2005. "Licensing of University Inventions: The Role of a Technology Transfer Office," Working Papers 201022, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation.
  12. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2003. "Are Faculty Critical? Their Role in University-Industry Licensing," Emory Economics 0320, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  13. Mansfield, Edwin, 1995. "Academic Research Underlying Industrial Innovations:," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 55-65, February.
  14. Manuel Trajtenberg & Gil Shiff & Ran Melamed, 2006. "The "Names Game": Harnessing Inventors' Patent Data for Economic Research," NBER Working Papers 12479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-70, December.
  16. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby, 2006. "Movement of Star Scientists and Engineers and High-Tech Firm Entry," NBER Working Papers 12172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gustavo A. Crespi & Aldo Geuna & Bart Verspagen, 2007. "University IPRs and Knowledge Transfer. Is the IPR ownership model more efficient?," ICER Working Papers 02-2007, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  18. Mowery, David C. & Nelson, Richard R. & Sampat, Bhaven N. & Ziedonis, Arvids A., 2001. "The growth of patenting and licensing by U.S. universities: an assessment of the effects of the Bayh-Dole act of 1980," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 99-119, January.
  19. Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson & Adam Jaffe, 1997. "University Versus Corporate Patents: A Window On The Basicness Of Invention," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 19-50.
  20. Sampat, Bhaven N. & Mowery, David C. & Ziedonis, Arvids A., 2003. "Changes in university patent quality after the Bayh-Dole act: a re-examination," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(9), pages 1371-1390, November.
  21. David B. Audretsch & Taylor Aldridge & Alexander Oettl, 2006. "The Knowledge Filter and Economic Growth: The Role of Scientist Entrepreneurship," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2006-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
  22. 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.
  23. Rothaermel, Frank T. & Thursby, Marie, 2005. "Incubator firm failure or graduation?: The role of university linkages," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1076-1090, September.
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