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Prof. Marie Thursby (Georgia Tech)

Programm

  • Datum: 07.05.2008
    Zeit:
    17:15 - 18:45
    Raum:
    026, Ludwigstr. 28/RG


University/Industry Licensing: What are the issues and evidence?

In this chapter, we discuss issues and evidence with regard to the ownership and licensing of publicly funded research. Since most of the research on these issues has been in the context of university intellectual property rights (IPR) and, in particular patents and licensing, we will focus largely on university patents and licensing. However, we note that most of what we cover is relevant for patenting and licensing at any non-profit research-oriented organization; indeed, many of the results we cite have combined universities with other non-profits. In addition, most of this research has focused on patenting in the life sciences for the obvious reason that the majority of university patents are in the life sciences as is the bulk of university licensing revenues. In the next section we provide a general overview of incentives created by the patent system and discuss the ways in which these incentives differ from traditional norms of science. In Section 3, we draw on the legal and economic literatures which distinguish among the incentives to invent, disclose, and innovate, and argue that the rationale for providing IPR for university research stems from the last of these. In Sections 4 and 5, we use these incentives to organize our discussion of the available evidence on the creation and diffusion of academic research under current IPR regimes. Finally, in Section 6 we focus on future directions.

Paper (pdf, 225 kB)

Licensing as a mechanism for university-industry technology transfer has increased dramatically in the last few decades. Since the early 1990s, this growth in the US has been tracked by annual surveys of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). Their data show that not only have many universities recently established Technology Transfer Offices (TTO), but existing offices have expanded their patent licensing activities. While many view this growth as evidence of the increasing role of universities in the national innovation system, others view it with skepticism, arguing that such commercial activity may come at the expense of the greater university mission of producing basic knowledge. In this paper, we examine one of the central issues in this debate — the extent to which faculty involvement in licensing compromises basic research. Proponents of licensing argue that without the financial incentives associated with licensing, neither faculty nor companies would undertake the development needed for effective technology transfer. However, critics claim that publication would be sufficient for transfer, and more importantly, that potential financial returns from licensing may have diverted faculty from more basic to applied research.

Paper (pdf, 130 kB)

 

  • Datum: 09.05.2008
    Zeit:
    10:15 - 11:45
    Raum:
    E004, Kaulbachstr. 45


Faculty Consulting: Part I

In a sample of 5811 patents with US faculty as inventors, 26% are assigned solely to firms rather than universities as dictated by US university employment policies and Bayh-Dole. We relate assignment to patent characteristics, university policy, and inventor field. Patents assigned to firms (whether established or start-ups with inventor as principal) are less basic than those assigned to universities suggesting these patents result from faculty consulting. Assignment to inventor-related start-ups is less likely the higher the share of revenue inventors receive from university-licensed patents. Firm assignment also varies by inventor field, public/private university and urban/rural university location.

Paper (pdf, 172 kB)

We examine commonly observed forms of payment, such as milestones, royal- ties, or consulting contracts as ways of engaging inventors in the development of licensed inventions. We show that when milestones are feasible, royalties are not optimal unless the licensing  firm is risk averse. The model also predicts the use of consulting contracts which improve the firm's ability to monitor inventor ef- fort. Because these contracts increase the firm's expected profits, the upfront fee that the university can charge is higher than otherwise. These results therefore support the commonly observed university policy of allowing faculty to consult with licensing firms outside of their university contracts. They also support firm policies of including milestones. An empirical analysis based on a survey of 112 businesses that license-in university inventions supports the complementarity of milestones and consulting suggested by the theory.

Paper (pdf, 305 kB)

 

  • Datum: 14.05.2008
    Zeit:
    17:15 - 18:45
    Raum:
    026, Ludwigstr. 28/RG


Faculty Consulting: Part II

We examine university-industry knowledge flows in the context of faculty consulting. Our model incorporates faculty decisions to work on their own university research projects or on a project in a firm lab. In equilibrium, faculty research and funding are functions of faculty quality, project characteristics, the faculty share of license revenue from university research, and R&D spillovers. We exploit a unique database of university research funding, publications, and patents for 458 faculty inventors to estimate the parameters of the model. The most novel empirical results are that government research funding is positively related to consulting, a result that can only occur in the theoretical model in the presence of spillovers from the faculty member’s university research to the firm. We also find that government and industry funding with the university act as strategic complements.

Paper (pdf, 362 kB)

 

  • Datum: 21.05.2008
    Zeit:
    17:15 - 18:45
    Raum:
    026, Ludwigstr. 28/RG


Globalization of Healthcare Research: What Kind of Science is Conducted in New R&D Sites?

The popular press abounds with reports of globalization, not only of manufacturing, information technology, and business services, but also research and development. These anecdotal reports paint a simple picture of multinationals increasingly locating R&D facilities in emerging countries to take advantage of low costs and increasing skill levels of the labor force in these countries. Our recent survey of 250 multinational firms across 15 industries shows this picture is “off the mark” in two ways. (Thursby and Thursby 2006a and b). First, R&D location decisions are quite complex and influenced by a variety of factors. We investigated 13 factors, including output and input market factors, and policies, such as taxes, regulatory restrictions, intellectual property protection, as well as the potential for collaboration among firms and universities. The factors most important for location decisions were output market potential, quality of R&D personnel, university collaboration, and intellectual property protection. How these factors influenced decisions, however, varied depending on whether sites were in developed or emerging economies. Second, while many of the facilities identified in the survey were located in emerging economies, a substantial portion of new and planned facilities were in developed economies, most notably the United States and Western Europe. The survey also we also asked firms to characterize the type and purpose of the science conducted at those recently established facilities. By type of science we mean whether the science is “new” or “familiar” and for the purpose of the science we mean whether it is for a “new” market for the firm or one that is “familiar” to the firm (where these terms are defined below). Finally, the “type” of R&D conducted at various sites is quite different. Roughly 50% of the R&D in developed economy sites involved cutting edge science as compared with only 22% of the R&D in emerging economy sites. In this paper, we examine the extent to which these results vary across industries. In particular, we examine the location and type of science of respondents in the healthcare industry as compared to all other respondents. Not surprisingly there are some striking differences.

Paper (pdf, 210 kB)


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