University patenting and technology commercialization – legal frameworks and the importance of local practice
Dagmara M. Weckowska1, Jordi Molas-Gallart2,
Puay Tang3, David Twigg4, Elena
Castro-Martínez5, Izabela Kijen´ska-Da˛browska6,
Dirk Libaers7, Koenraad Debackere8 and Martin Meyer9,10,11 1Department of Business and Management, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9SL, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org 2INGENIO (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, Valencia 46022,
Spain. email@example.com 3SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9SL, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org 4Mountbatten Institute, 35 Chiswell Street, London, EC1Y 4SE, UK. email@example.com 5INGENIO (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, Valencia, 46022,
Spain. firstname.lastname@example.org 6Faculty of Management, Bialystok University of Technology, 15-351, Bialystok, Poland. email@example.com 7Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern
University, Boston, MA 02115, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org 8Centre for Research & Development Monitoring (ECOOM), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven,
Belgium, and Faculty of Economics and Business, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. email@example.com 9Kent Business School, University of Kent, Canterbury CT17PE, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org 10Centre for Research & Development Monitoring (ECOOM), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven,
Belgium, and Faculty of Economics and Business, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. email@example.com 11SC-Research, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland. firstname.lastname@example.org
The impact of national legislative frameworks on the higher education sector’s contribution to technological innovation is heavily disputed. This paper argues that legislative frameworks may stimulate the development of local practices for the management and exploitation of intellectual property (IP), which in turn determine the level of academic patenting. We present case studies of two comparable universities in each of four selected European countries with different histories of national IP legislation. A within-country analysis shows bs_bs_banner © 2015 RADMA and John Wiley & Sons Ltd 1 that a wider range and earlier development of local IP management and exploitation practices are accompanied by higher levels of academic patenting, and that increasing similarity of IP practices is associated with decreasing differences in patenting outputs. A preliminary cross-country analysis reveals an expansion in and increasing similarity of practices for IP management and exploitation in countries with different national IP framework histories. We conclude that adopting Bayh-Dole-like legislation may trigger the development of local IP practices, which stimulate patenting. However, it is not always sufficient and definitely not always necessary. The study concludes with some policy recommendations. 1. Introduction
University patenting has been heralded as asymbol of the changing relations between universities and their socioeconomic environments.
The Bayh-Dole Act, enacted in the United States in 1980, has served as a model to facilitate university patenting and promote the commercialization of university research, and has been imitated by numerous countries (Mowery, 1998; Mowery et al., 2001; Rafferty, 2008). The (relative) impact of legislative framework conditions (Bayh-Dole in the
United States and similar legislation introduced in many European countries) on the university sector’s contribution to technological innovation is still heavily debated (Grimaldi et al., 2011; Kenney and
Two schools of thought appear to have emerged: one that seems to follow the argument that BayhDole-type regulations positively affect university patenting output (The Economist, 2002; Goldfarb and Henrekson, 2003; OECD, 2003, Siepmann, 2004), and another that is very skeptical and sees little need for United States-style intellectual property (IP) regulations within the public research sector (Mendes and Liyanage, 2002; Mowery and
Sampat, 2005; Baldini et al., 2006; Baldini, 2009).
We argue that national legislative frameworks may stimulate the development of local practices for the management and exploitation of IP, which in turn are important for determining the level and quality of patenting activity. Thus, the relevance of national legislative frameworks is twofold. First, they signal the legitimacy of academic patenting activities; second, they signal the importance of developing local IP management and exploitation practices, including services such as intellectual property rights (IPR) counseling, market analysis, IP exploitation and incubation.
Baldini (2006) notes that in Europe the attention on academic patenting is a relatively new phenomenon and has recently been examined by scholars in diverse national settings (e.g. Wallmark, 1997;
Henrekson and Rosenberg, 2001; Azagra Caro et al., 2003; Goldfarb and Henrekson, 2003; Meyer et al., 2003; Van Looy et al., 2004). However,
Baldini points out that there are no cross-national studies on academic patenting. He also observes that although some studies try to assess how legislative and organizational changes interact with local context specificities (e.g. Jones-Evans et al., 1999;
Henrekson and Rosenberg, 2001; Baldini et al., 2006), further work is needed to provide a much richer understanding of the intertwined roles of national legislation and local practices in stimulating the rate and quality of academic patenting.
This study is a first attempt to fill this gap in the academic patenting literature. It investigates whether national legislation can stimulate the development of local practices for managing and exploiting IP, which in turn affect the level of patenting activity, by addressing two research questions: (1) How do local practices for IP management and exploitation affect academic patenting rates? (2) How does the national