Academic inventions outside the university: A result of industry sponsorship or entrepreneurial activities?
This paper investigates the link between firms and academic inventors on firm-assigned academic patents for a sample of UK academics. The first descriptive results show that 43% of firm assigned patents are in fact owned by a university spin-off. The empirical analysis finds that a strong appropriation regime at a university encourages patents owned by the university or its spin-offs. Public research funds and technology transfer grants are also associated with university or spin-off owned patent s. Government incentives and funding regulations thus are a successful strategy to encourage and maintain university ownership of patents. Industry sponsorship on the other hand encourages firm ownership of patents, whether these are private firms or university spin-offs. A more detailed analysis of funding links shows that 41% of non-spin-off firms also have funding agreements with the university; however, the remaining 59% of firms have no apparent link to researchers that could explain ownership of university inventions.
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