Working Paper BETA #2009-07

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Title : Academic Patenting in Japan: Illustration from a Leading Japanese University

Author(s) : Makiko Takahashi, René Carraz

Abstract : In April 2004, the Japanese government incorporated the national universities as “independent administrative entities”. This important change in Japan’s research culture has allowed its universities to gain higher control and oversight over their strategic development trajectories. In this paper, we will present an analysis centered on the legislative changes concerning intellectual property and their impact on Japanese universities. We will particularly focus our attention on a leading Japanese research institution: Tohoku University. We will analyze the different mechanisms that have been put in place to foster the use of patents by faculty members. In that respect, we introduce a differentiation between university-owned and university-invented patents, and put emphasis on the difference in patenting behaviors among scientific disciplines. Finally, we argue that contractual research is a major channel for the technology transfer of Japanese universities’ knowledge and findings.

Key-words : science policy, academic research, academic patenting, Japan.

JEL Classification : O31, 034, O53.