The Disclosure and Licensing of University Inventions

Richard A. Jensen, Jerry G. Thursby, Marie C. Thursby

NBER Working Paper No. 9734
Issued in May 2003
NBER Program(s):Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

We examine the interplay of the three major university actors in technology transfer from universities to industry: the faculty, the technology transfer office (TTO), and the central administration. We model the faculty as an agent of the administration, and the TTO as an agent of both the faculty and the administration. Empirical tests of the theory are based on evidence from our survey of 62 US research universities. We find that the TTOs reported licensing objectives are influenced by their views of faculty and administration, which supports the assumption that the TTO is a dual agent. The theory yields predictions for whether or not faculty disclose inventions and if so, at what stage, which in turn affects license contract terms. We also examine how the portion of inventions disclosed at different stages varies with faculty quality. Quality is found to be inversely related to the share of license income allotted to faculty.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9734

Published: Jensen, Richard A., Jerry G. Thursby, and Marie C. Thursby. "Disclosure and Licensing of University Inventions: 'The Best We Can Do with the S**t We Get to Work With.'" International Journal of Industrial Organization 21, 9 (November 2003): 1271-1300.

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