Vol 1: Theory Vol 2: Analytical Methods
Edited by Ben Depoorter, Peter Menell and David Schwartz
Chapter 11: Empirical analyses related to university patenting
Patenting by universities has seen a marked increase in the past two decades. According to the National Science Foundation, patents issued by the United States Patent Office to U.S. academic institutions more than doubled between 1996 and 2014. As a share of all patents granted, academic institutions accounted for about 2 percent 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 twentieth century. For much of that time 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 of 1980, which facilitated patenting and licensing of federally funded university inventions. The chapter concludes by describing the empirical research on university patenting in the last 20 years, highlights some of the unresolved issues within this literature, and suggests new avenues for research.
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