Academic Entrepreneurship

Academic Entrepreneurship

University Spinoffs and Wealth Creation

New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series

Scott Shane

In this unique and timely volume, Scott Shane systematically explains the formation of university spinoff companies and their role in the commercialization of university technology and wealth creation in the United States and elsewhere. The importance of university spinoff activity is discussed and the historical development of university spinoff ventures is traced over time.

Chapter 9: The Process of Spinoff Company Creation

Scott Shane

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, management and universities, education, management and universities


This chapter discusses the process by which a university spinoff is created and developed. The first section of the chapter discusses the research that leads to the creation and disclosure of a university invention. In particular, it explains how university researchers use research funding from companies, foundations and government agencies to invent new technologies. It also discusses the university’s evaluation of the invention and its patenting decision, explaining how personnel in the university technology transfer office evaluate these inventions to verify that they are inventions for which property rights reside with the university and inventions worthy of intellectual property protection. The second section of the chapter examines how universities market their inventions. In particular, it explains that the marketing of university inventions involves a variety of activities by both licensing officers and inventors to find companies interested in licensing the inventions. This section also discusses the decision to license the technology to an entrepreneur who founds a spinoff company. THE RESEARCH AND INVENTION CREATION PROCESSES As Figure 9.1 indicates, the creation of the technology used by a university spinoff is a multi-stage process. Funding from the federal government, private firms and foundations is used to support scholarly research in science and engineering. Some of this research results in the creation of new technology, some of which is disclosed to the university. The university technology-licensing office then decides whether or not to seek intellectual property protection for the inventions, after which efforts are made to find licensees for them. In most...

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