The Growth of Patenting and Licensing by U.S. Universities: An Assessment of the Effects of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980
David C. Mowery
University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Richard R. Nelson
Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA)
Bhaven N. Sampat
Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health
Arvids A. Ziedonis
University of Oregon
Research Policy, Vol. 30, pp. 99-119, 2001
Growth during the 1980s and 1990s in patenting and licensing by American universities is frequently asserted to be a direct consequence of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. However, there has been little empirical analysis of the effects of this legislation. This paper uses previously unexploited data to consider the effects of Bayh-Dole at three leading universities: the University of California, Stanford University, and Columbia University. Two of these universities (California and Stanford) were active in patenting and licensing before Bayh-Dole, and one (Columbia) became active only after its passage. The evidence suggests that Bayh-Dole was only one of several important factors behind the rise of university patenting and licensing activity. Bayh-Dole also appears to have had little effect on the content of academic research at these universities. A comparison of these three universities reveals remarkable similarities in their patent and licensing portfolios 10 years after the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act. The concluding section raises several questions about the effects of Bayh-Dole and related policy shifts that are not addressed by this analysis but that deserve attention in future research.
Keywords: Bayh-Dole Act, University Research, Technology Transfer, Patenting, Licensing
JEL Classification: O3Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 13, 2006
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