Academic Entrepreneurship
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Academic Entrepreneurship

University Spinoffs and Wealth Creation

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.
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Chapter 3: University Spinoffs in Historical Perspective

Scott Shane


This chapter explores the history of university spinoffs. Starting from the beginning of the modern university in 19th-century Germany and continuing to the present day, university spinoffs have been a part of the university technology commercialization landscape. The first section of the chapter discusses the evolution of efforts by universities to commercialize technologies created by their faculty, staff and students through the creation of new companies from the earliest efforts to the present day. In addition to providing an overview of the development of technology commercialization and spinoff activity in the United States since the beginning of the 20th century, this section describes the birth of the modern era of spinoff activity – the period since the passage of the Bayh–Dole Act in 1980 – and the tremendous increases in technology commercialization and spinoff activity that have occurred since 1980. The second section of the chapter seeks to explain the rapid growth of spinoffs from academic institutions in the United States over the past 20 years, focusing on the central forces that have led to the dramatic rise in spinoff activity: the passage of the Bayh–Dole Act, the birth and growth of biotechnology, changes in US patent laws, contagion effects, the growth in the use of equity, the shortening of the product life cycle in many industries, and changes in the new firm financing process. THE HISTORY OF UNIVERSITY TECHNOLOGY COMMERCIALIZATION AND SPINOFF ACTIVITY Universities have been involved in the commercialization of technology ever since they were first established. Academic...

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