Motivations and Incentives for Patenting within Universities: A Survey of Italian Inventors
39 Pages Posted: 15 May 2005
Date Written: January 2005
Most of the literature on university patenting activity has focused on institutional and organizational change and on mechanisms to overcome market inefficiencies and spur academics to patent their research results. There is little evidence on the incentives for faculty members to get involved in patenting processes, of the obstacles, and of their perceptions of actions to be taken to successfully support the commercialization of academic knowledge through patents. In this paper we present such an assessment based on Italian faculty members. Our analysis is based on a sample of 208 faculty members who appeared to be inventors of Italian academic patents. Our findings show that Italian professors get involved in patenting activities to enhance their prestige and reputation and to look for new stimuli for their research; personal earnings do not represent an important incentive. Respondents appreciate university-level support mechanisms and the availability of an outside fertile local context (firms, scientific parks, incubators, venture capitalists, etc.). Implications are discussed with regard to the diffusion patenting policies within universities and the implementation of effective mechanisms supporting academic patenting processes.
Keywords: Patents, universities, exploitation of academic knowledge, incentives, obstacles
JEL Classification: I28, J33, L31, O34, O35
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