NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Tale of University Licensing

Richard Jensen, Marie Thursby

NBER Working Paper No. 6698
Issued in August 1998
NBER Program(s):   PR   IO

Proponents of the Bayh-Dole Act argue that unless universities have the right to license patentable inventions, many results from federally funded research would never be transferred to industry. Our survey of U.S. research universities supports this view. Results point to the embryonic state of most technologies licensed and the need for inventor cooperation in the commercialization process. Thus, for most university inventions, there is a moral hazard problem with regard to inventor effort. Our theoretical analysis shows that for such inventions, development would not occur unless the inventor's income is tied to the licensee's output by payments such as royalties or equity. Sponsored research can also be critical to commercialization, but it alone does not solve the inventor's moral hazard problem.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6698

Published: Jensen, Richard and Marie Thursby. "Proofs And Prototypes For Sale: The Licensing Of University Inventions," American Economic Review, 2001, v91(1,Mar), 240-259.

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