When Tigers Bare Teeth: A Qualitative Study of University Patent Enforcement
37 Pages Posted: 24 May 2012 Last revised: 1 Jun 2013
Date Written: March 1, 2013
University participation as plaintiffs in patent infringement litigation is an understudied phenomenon within a postsecondary educational terrain increasingly influenced by academic capitalist approaches to intellectual property protection and dissemination. This article presents findings from an exploratory, qualitative study of senior-level technology transfer professionals at five public universities with recent experience asserting university-owned patents in patent infringement lawsuits. Findings reveal a complex set of considerations that influence university decisions about patent enforcement, including infringer identity, concerns for litigation finance, and the licensing typology of the asserted patent. Additionally, findings suggest a complicated and close relationship between mission and money in university pursuits of patent infringers.
Keywords: patent litigation, universities, technology transfer, academic capitalism, qualitative research
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