Working Paper BETA #2009-04

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Title : On the consequences of university patenting: What can we learn by asking directly to academic inventors?

Author(s) : Pénin Julien

Abstract : This paper examines the consequences of university patenting by using an original source of information: The point of view of French academic inventors, i.e. French university professors who are also inventors of European patents. Via a survey we collected information about 280 French academic inventors. This enables us to put forward new insights with respect to the effect of university patenting on the diffusion of scientific research, incentives to do basic research, commercialization of university inventions and access to upstream knowledge. In particular, the study suggests a tradeoff between enabling the transfer of university inventions to industry in some sectors and delaying the dissemination of scientific research. On the one hand, most academic inventors acknowledge a lag in their publication process directly attributable to the patent application but, on the other hand, in life science disciplines a large majority of respondents who have had one of their inventions commercialized, believe that this would not have been the case had a patent not been there.

Key-words : University patenting, open science, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, university-industry relationships, Bayh-Dole Act.

JEL Classification : O3