Individual versus Institutional Ownership of University-Discovered Inventions
45 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2017
Date Written: June 2017
We examine how the ownership of intellectual property rights influences patenting of university-discovered inventions. In 2002, Germany transferred patent rights from faculty members to their universities. To identify the effect on the volume of patenting, we exploit the researcher-level exogeneity of the 2002 policy change using a novel researcher-level panel database that includes a control group of academic researchers not affected by the law change. For professors who had existing industry connections, the policy decreased patenting, but for those without prior industry connections, it increased patenting. Overall, fewer university inventions were patented following the shift from inventor to institutional ownership. Our results highlight the critical importance of understanding the nature and strength of faculty-industry relationships before undertaking policy initiatives intended to foster technology transfer.
Keywords: Intellectual property, patents, technology transfer, policy evaluation
JEL Classification: O34, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation