Academic Patents and Materials Transfer Agreements: Substitutes or Complements?

28 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2006

See all articles by Arvids A. Ziedonis

Arvids A. Ziedonis

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

David C. Mowery

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

Abstract

U.S. universities and academic medical centers long have been important performers of research in the life sciences, but their role as a source of patented intellectual property in this field has changed significantly in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The expanded presence of formal intellectual property rights within the academic biomedical research enterprise has occasioned numerous expressions of concern from scholars, policymakers, and participants. One widely expressed fear involves the effects of patenting on the conduct of the scientific research enterprise. There is also considerable concern over the possible role of Material Transfer Agreements "MTAs" in raising research "transaction costs." On the other hand, others suggest that the contractual structure provided by MTAs may reduce transaction costs and facilitate exchange. This paper undertakes a preliminary analysis of the role of MTAs in the biomedical research enterprise at the University of Michigan, a significant patenter and licensor of biomedical intellectual property. We examine the relationship among invention disclosures, patenting, licensing, and the presence or absence of an MTA. Although data limitations make any conclusions tentative, our analysis suggests that the increased assertion of property rights by universities through MTAs does not appear to impede the commercialization of university research through patenting and licensing.

Keywords: Materials Transfer Agreements, University Technology Transfer, Patenting, Licensing

JEL Classification: I32, O32, O34

Suggested Citation

Ziedonis, Arvids Alexander and Mowery, David C., Academic Patents and Materials Transfer Agreements: Substitutes or Complements?. Journal of Technology Transfer, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 157-172, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=950457

Arvids Alexander Ziedonis (Contact Author)

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

Warmoesberg 26
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

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

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
218
Abstract Views
1,137
rank
170,330
PlumX Metrics