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The debate about university technology transfer policy would benefit from increased attention to two parts of the technology transfer equation: the societal purpose of…
The debate about university technology transfer policy would benefit from increased attention to two parts of the technology transfer equation: the societal purpose of basic scientific research and the characteristics of scientific researchers.11This Chapter was prepared for the Colloquium on University Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer hosted by the Karl Eller Center of the University of Arizona and sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. I am grateful to them for their support. I am also grateful to the participants in the Colloquium for helpful comments. Finally, I thank my research assistant, David Zelner, for assistance with this project. One purpose of curiosity-driven research is to provide a demand function that can serve as a proxy for the socially optimal (but unknowable) demand function for the unpredictable research that is necessary for long-term technological progress. Preserving the curiosity-driven research peer review “market” is thus important for that progress. This analysis highlights the importance of adequate funding for curiosity-driven research. A model of typical university scientists’ preferences can be used to assess how technology transfer policies may affect the social norms of the research community and the long-term viability of the curiosity-driven research endeavor. The analysis suggests that patenting will be an ineffective technology transfer mechanism unless researchers are precluded from using patenting to maintain control over follow-on research.
This chapter discusses current issues raised by the use of patents in university-industry technology commercialization. After introducing how patent laws operate in the…
This chapter discusses current issues raised by the use of patents in university-industry technology commercialization. After introducing how patent laws operate in the global marketplace, this chapter provides an overview of the U.S. patent system, describing aspects of the process by which patents are obtained and enforced. The focus of the chapter then turns to some of the benefits and costs to academia of the impact of the Bayh-Dole Act, which allows universities to capture returns from federally funded research. The chapter identifies some of the challenges created by the expanding scope of subject matter eligible for patent protection and concludes with a discussion of some of the issues and opportunities associated with the strategic licensing and enforcement of patents that may impact invention and innovation in the academy and beyond.