Changes in University Patent Quality after the Bayh-Dole Act: A Re-Examination

Posted: 13 Dec 2006

See all articles by Bhaven N. Sampat

Bhaven N. Sampat

Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health

David C. Mowery

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Arvids A. Ziedonis

KU Leuven - Faculty of Economics and Business; Department of Management, Strategy, and Innovation

Abstract

The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 facilitated the retention by universities of patent rights resulting from government funded academic research, thus encouraging university entry into patenting and licensing. Though the Act is widely recognized to be a major change in federal policy towards academic research, surprisingly little empirical analysis has been directed at assessing its impacts on the academy and on university-industry research relationships. An important exception is the work of Henderson et al. [Rev. Econ. Stat. 80 (1998) 119-127] which examined the impact of Bayh-Dole on the quality of university patents, as measured by the number of times they are cited in subsequent patents. The authors found that the quality of academic patents declined dramatically after Bayh-Dole, a finding that has potentiallyimportant policy implications. Inthis paper, we revisit this influential finding. By using a longer stream of patent citations data, we show that the results of the Henderson et al. study reflect changes in the intertemporal distribution of citations to university patents, rather than a significant change in the total number of citations these patents eventually receive. This has important implications not only for the evaluation of Bayh-Dole, but also for future research using patent citations as economic indicators.

Keywords: O3

JEL Classification: Bayh-Dole, University Patenting, Patent Citations

Suggested Citation

Sampat, Bhaven N. and Mowery, David C. and Ziedonis, Arvids Alexander, Changes in University Patent Quality after the Bayh-Dole Act: A Re-Examination. International Journal of Industrial Organization, Vol. 21, No. 9, pp. 1371-1390, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=950468

Bhaven N. Sampat (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health ( email )

600 West 168th St. 6th Floor
New York, NY 10032
United States

David C. Mowery

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Arvids Alexander Ziedonis

KU Leuven - Faculty of Economics and Business; Department of Management, Strategy, and Innovation ( email )

Warmoesberg 26
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

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