Intellectual Property for Economic Development

Intellectual Property for Economic Development

KDI series in Economic Policy and Development

Edited by Sanghoon Ahn, Bronwyn H. Hall and Keun Lee

Protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) serves a dual role in economic development. While it promotes innovation by providing legal protection of inventions, it may retard catch-up and learning by restricting the diffusion of innovations. Does stronger IPR protection in a developing country encourage technology development in or technology transfer to that country? This book aims to address the issue, covering diverse forms of IPRs, diverse actors in innovation, and diverse cases from Asia and Latin America.

Chapter 8: Empirical analysis of university patenting in Korea

Joonghae Suh

Subjects: economics and finance, development economics, intellectual property, law and economics, innovation and technology, intellectual property


Over the course of Korea’s industrialization, the primary role of universities has been supplying quality workers. The research university model, which had been already established in advanced countries, has begun operation only recently in Korea. The research university model was set in motion in 1971 with the foundation of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIS), which became today’s Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Since then, new research-oriented universities have been founded, including Pohang University of Science and Technology in 1986 and Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in 1995. Other universities have made continuous efforts to systematize research activities within their institutions (Hee Je Pak, 2006). Recently, universities have assumed increased duties by participating directly in economic activities, such as strengthening industry-academia-institute collaboration, improving university technology transfer, and establishing university-run enterprises. Although academic capitalism – under which universities perform entrepreneurial activities such as generating revenue through technology transfer and operating business enterprises – carries little weight as yet in Korean universities, the government has been treating it as an important policy issue. One particular issue of debate in Korea is the increasing use of patents in evaluating universities and professors. Traditionally Korean universities have placed greater importance on papers than on patents. With a growing emphasis on industry-academia cooperation and the direct contribution of universities to economic growth, patents became quite suddenly a key policy tool.

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