University IPRs and Knowledge Transfer. Is the IPR Ownership Model More Efficient?

Bart Verspagen, ECIS, Eindhoven University

We employ data from a large scale survey among inventors of European patents to assess whether university-owned patents in Europe are more often applied, and/or more economically valuable, than patents that result from university research but are not owned by universities (university-invented). Our analysis starts from the observation that in our sample of six major European countries, relatively many patents that result (at least partly) from university research, are not owned by universities (but instead by private firms). A review of the theory of research joint ventures suggests that ownership is the result of a bargaining game, in which the relative bargaining positions depend, among other things, on characteristics of the inventive process. This is the starting point for applying two separate statistical treatment models. Our results indicate that, after correcting for observable patent characteristics, there are no significant differences between university-owned and university-invented patents.

Date: 19 September 2006