Exploring the "Value" of Academic Patents: IP Management Practices in UK Universities and their Implications for Third-Stream Indicators
Third-Stream activities have become increasingly important in the UK. However, valuing them in a meaningful way still poses a challenge to science and technology analysts and policy makers alike. This paper reviews the general literature on "patent value" and assesses the extent to which these established measures, including patent citation, patent family, renewal and litigation data, can be applied to the university context. Our study examines indicators of patent value for short and mid-term evaluation purposes, rather than indicators that suffer from long time lags. We also explore the extent to which differences in IP management practices at universities may have an impact on the validity and robustness of possible indicators. Our observations from four UK universities indicate that there are considerable differences between universities as to how they approach the IP management process, which in turn has implications for valuing patents and how they track activity in this area. In their current form, data as collected by universities are not sufficiently robust to serve as the basis for evaluation or resource allocation.
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