Universities and Technology Transfer in Japan: Recent Reforms in Historical Perspective
Posted: 19 Jun 2000
The Japanese govemment has embarked on a series of reforms aimed at stimulating technology transfer from universities to industry. As a result, technology licensing offices are springing up at many national universities. Advocates hope that these reforms will increase the level of university patenting and licensing, which historically has not been a common mode of technology transfer in Japan. Their model is the technology licensing process in the United States, which aquired its present form after passage of the Bayh-Dole Technology Transfer Act of 1980. Such changes face serious historical and institutional barriers. Academic researchers, especially in engineering and physical science, have a long record of collaborative research with industry. Decisions about patenting, however, were usually left to the corporate partner; universities rarely filed for patents under their own name, nor have they, until recently, encouraged or assisted faculty researchers in doing so. Consequently, we believe that current reforms, by going against the grain of past practices, will take time to achieve the hoped for results.
JEL Classification: O32, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation