NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Universities as a Source of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis of University Patenting 1965-1988

Rebecca Henderson, Adam Jaffe, Manuel Trajtenberg

NBER Working Paper No. 5068 (Also Reprint No. r2205)
Issued in March 1995
NBER Program(s):   PR

This paper explores changes in university patenting behavior between 1965 and 1988. We show that university patents have increased 15-fold while real university research spending almost tripled. The causes of this increase are unclear, but may include increased focus on commercially relevant technologies, increased industry funding of university research, a 1980 change in federal law that facilitated patenting of results from federally funded research, and the widespread creation of formal technology licensing offices at universities. Up until approximately the mid-1980s, university patents were more highly cited, and were cited by more technologically diverse patents, than a random sample of all patents. This difference is consistent with the notion that university inventions are more important and more basic than the average invention. The differences between the two groups disappeared, however, in the middle part of the 1980s, partly due to a decline in the citation rates for all universities, and partly due to an increasing share of patents going to smaller institutions, whose patents are less highly cited throughout this period. Moreover at both large and small institutions there was a large increase in the fraction of university patents receiving zero citations. Our results suggest that the rate of increase of important patents from universities is much less than the overall rate of increase of university patenting in the period covered by our data.

download in pdf format
   (598 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (598 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5068

Published: Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 80, no. 1, pp. 119-127, February 1998. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Jaffe, Trajtenberg, and Henderson w3993 Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations
Hall, Jaffe, and Trajtenberg w8498 The NBER Patent Citation Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools
Mowery and Ziedonis w8568 The Geographic Reach of Market and Non-Market Channels of Technology Transfer: Comparing Citations and Licenses of University Patents
Jaffe and Trajtenberg w5712 Flows of Knowledge from Universities and Federal Labs: Modeling the Flowof Patent Citations Over Time and Across Institutional and Geographic Boundari
Azoulay, Ding, and Stuart w11917 The Impact of Academic Patenting on the Rate, Quality, and Direction of (Public) Research Output
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us