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Patents and Academic Research: A State of the Art

  • Nicolas van Zeebroeck
  • Bruno Van Pottelsberghe
  • Dominique Guellec

The sharp increase in academic patenting over the past 20 years raises important issues regarding the generation and diffusion of academic knowledge. Three key questions may be raised in this respect: What is behind the surge in academic patenting? Does patenting affect the quality and quantity of universities' scientific output? Does the patent system limit the freedom to perform academic research? The present paper summarizes the existing literature on these issues. The evidence suggests that academic patenting has only limited effects on the direction, pace and quality of research. A virtuous cycle seems to characterise the patent-publication relationship. Secondly, scientific anti-commons show very little effects on academic researchers so far, limited to a few countries with weak or no research exemption regulations. In a nutshell, the evidence leads us to conclude that the benefits of academic patenting on research exceed their potential negative effects.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 08-013.RS.

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Length: 17 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:08-013
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  1. Eleftherios Sapsalis & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2007. "The Institutional Sources Of Knowledge And The Value Of Academic Patents," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 139-157.
  2. Az�le Mathieu & Martin Meyer & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2008. "Turning science into business: a case study of a major European research university," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(9), pages 669-679, November.
  3. Eleftherios Sapsalis & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2004. "Insight into the patenting performance of Belgian universities," Working Papers CEB 04-009.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. James Bessen & Michael J. Meurer, 2005. "The Patent Litigation Explosion," Working Papers 0501, Research on Innovation.
  5. Mowery, David C. & Ziedonis, Arvids A., 2002. "Academic patent quality and quantity before and after the Bayh-Dole act in the United States," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 399-418, March.
  6. Guellec, Dominique & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2007. "The Economics of the European Patent System: IP Policy for Innovation and Competition," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199216987.
  7. 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.
  8. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Eleftherios Sapsalis & Ran Navon, 2006. "Academic vs. industry patenting: an in-depth analysis of what determines patent value," Working Papers CEB 05-008.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Ajay Agrawal & Rebecca Henderson, 2002. "Putting Patents in Context: Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 44-60, January.
  10. Chris Dent & Paul Jensen & Sophie Waller & Beth Webster, 2006. "Research Use of Patented Knowledge: A Review," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2006/2, OECD Publishing.
  11. 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.
  12. Dominique Guellec & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2007. "Patent as a market instrument," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/60728, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. Martin Meyer, 2003. "Academic patents as an indicator of useful research? A new approach to measure academic inventiveness," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 17-27, April.
  14. Gulbrandsen, Magnus & Smeby, Jens-Christian, 2005. "Industry funding and university professors' research performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 932-950, August.
  15. Campbell, Eric G. & Weissman, Joel S. & Causino, Nancyanne & Blumenthal, David, 2000. "Data withholding in academic medicine: characteristics of faculty denied access to research results and biomaterials," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 303-312, February.
  16. Sapsalis, Eleftherios & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno & Navon, Ran, 2006. "Academic versus industry patenting: An in-depth analysis of what determines patent value," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1631-1645, December.
  17. Van Looy, Bart & Callaert, Julie & Debackere, Koenraad, 2006. "Publication and patent behavior of academic researchers: Conflicting, reinforcing or merely co-existing?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 596-608, May.
  18. Fiona Murray & Scott Stern, 2005. "Do Formal Intellectual Property Rights Hinder the Free Flow of Scientific Knowledge? An Empirical Test of the Anti-Commons Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 11465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Carine Peeters, 2006. "Economic and management perspectives on intellectual property rights," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6185, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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