Empirical Analyses Related to University Patenting
Handbook of the Economics of IP Law, Volume 2, B. Depoorter, P. Menell, and D. Schwartz, eds. (Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd., Northampton MA) 2019.
36 Pages Posted: 1 May 2018 Last revised: 30 Apr 2021
Date Written: July 23, 2017
Patenting by universities has seen a marked increase in the past two decades. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), patents issued by the United States Patent Office (USPTO) to U.S. academic institutions more than doubled from 2,293 in 1996 to 5,990 in 2014, the most recent year the NSF has compiled data (National Science Board 2016). As a share of all patents granted, academic institutions accounted for about 2% in the same time period. Patenting by universities of faculty inventions has an even longer history in the United States, however, stretching back to the early 20th century. For much of that time, especially until 1980, the year of passage of the seminal Bayh–Dole Act, the appropriateness of this activity as one of the many missions of U.S. universities was itself a subject of debate. This chapter begins with a brief outline of this debate and summarizes university patenting through this period. It then discusses the Bayh–Dole Act, which facilitated patenting and licensing of federally funded university inventions. The chapter concludes by describing the empirical research on university patenting in the last twenty years, highlights some of the unresolved issues within this literature, and suggests new avenues for research.
Keywords: Intellectual Property, Universities, Patenting, Technology Transfer
JEL Classification: O32, O34, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation