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Why challenge the ivory tower? New evidence on the basicness of academic patents

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  • Czarnitzki, Dirk
  • Hussinger, Katrin
  • Schneider, Cédric

Abstract

While often presumed in academic literature and policy discussions there is little empirical evidence showing that academic patents protect more basic inventions than corporate patents. This study provides new evidence on the basicness of academic patents using German professor patents linked to patent opposition data from the European Patent Office (EPO). Patent oppositions are the most important mechanism by which the validity of patents filed at the EPO can be challenged. Controlling for patent value, asymmetric information and diverging expectations between the opposition parties, the likelihood of a potentially litigious situation and the relative costs of opposition versus settlement, we find that academic patents are opposed less frequently than a control group of corporate patents. This suggests that academic patents cover rather basic inventions with a low immediate commercial value not threatening current returns of potential plaintiffs. The effect is weaker for academic patents in collaboration with the business sector, which suggests that those patents are evaluated as more applied by owners of potentially rival technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Czarnitzki, Dirk & Hussinger, Katrin & Schneider, Cédric, 2009. "Why challenge the ivory tower? New evidence on the basicness of academic patents," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-029, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:09029
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    1. Malva, Antonio Della & Hussinger, Katrin, 2012. "Corporate science in the patent system: An analysis of the semiconductor technology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 118-135.
    2. Hanna Hottenrott & Cornelia Lawson, 2014. "Research grants, sources of ideas and the effects on academic research," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(2), pages 109-133, March.
    3. Stefan Houweling & Sven Wolff, 2020. "The influence of scientific prestige and peer effects on the intention to create university spin-offs," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 45(5), pages 1432-1450, October.
    4. Dirk Czarnitzki & Katrin Hussinger & Bart Leten, 2020. "How Valuable are Patent Blocking Strategies?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 56(3), pages 409-434, May.
    5. Ugo Rizzo & Nicolò Barbieri & Laura Ramaciotti & Demian Iannantuono, 2020. "The division of labour between academia and industry for the generation of radical inventions," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 393-413, April.
    6. Sasan Bakhtiari, 2023. "Changing Nature of Patents in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 56(3), pages 288-307, September.
    7. Chandra, Praveena & Dong, Andy, 2018. "The relation between knowledge accumulation and technical value in interdisciplinary technologies," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 235-244.
    8. Huang, Mu-Hsuan & Yang, Hsiao-Wen & Chen, Dar-Zen, 2015. "Increasing science and technology linkage in fuel cells: A cross citation analysis of papers and patents," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 237-249.
    9. Giovanni Cerulli & Giovanni Marin & Eleonora Pierucci & Bianca Potì, 2022. "Do company-owned academic patents influence firm performance? Evidence from the Italian industry," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 242-269, February.
    10. Dirk Czarnitzki & Katrin Hussinger & Cédric Schneider, 2012. "The nexus between science and industry: evidence from faculty inventions," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(5), pages 755-776, October.
    11. Yongrae Cho & Wonjoon Kim, 2014. "Technology–industry networks in technology commercialization: evidence from Korean university patents," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 98(3), pages 1785-1810, March.
    12. Hanne Peeters & Julie Callaert & Bart Looy, 2020. "Do firms profit from involving academics when developing technology?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 494-521, April.
    13. Foray, Dominique & Lissoni, Francesco, 2010. "University Research and Public–Private Interaction," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 275-314, Elsevier.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    academic inventors; intellectual property rights; patent oppositions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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