Tacit Knowledge and University-Industry Technology Transfer

Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (2019, Forthcoming)

UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper Forthcoming

21 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2019

See all articles by Peter Lee

Peter Lee

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

Traditional conceptions of university-industry technology transfer typically focus on patenting and licensing of academic inventions. However, effective technology transfer often requires significant knowledge exchange between academic and commercial entities in parallel to patent licensing. Although patents on university technologies nominally disclose those inventions, a significant amount of knowledge related to practicing and commercializing them remains tacit or uncodified, residing in the mind of the faculty inventor. This chapter explores the nature of tacit knowledge and mechanisms for transferring it. It notes that the “tacit dimension” of university inventions can be quite high given the embryonic nature of such technologies. It further reveals that human and institutional connections play a critical role in transferring tacit knowledge between universities and commercial firms. In particular, networks, consulting engagements, sponsored research, proof of concept centers and incubators, and university spinoffs facilitate direct interactions between academic and commercial entities, thus promoting tacit knowledge exchange.

Keywords: technology transfer, tacit knowledge, patents, networks, sponsored research, spinoffs

Suggested Citation

Lee, Peter, Tacit Knowledge and University-Industry Technology Transfer (2019). Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (2019, Forthcoming); UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3417933 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3417933

Peter Lee (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States

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