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American Economic Review: Vol. 91 No. 1 (March 2001)

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Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Licensing of University Inventions

Article Citation

Jensen, Richard, and Marie Thursby. 2001. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Licensing of University Inventions." American Economic Review, 91(1): 240-259.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.1.240

Abstract

Proponents of the Bayh-Dole Act argue that industrial use of federally funded research would be reduced without university patent licensing. Our survey of U.S. universities supports this view, emphasizing the embryonic state of most technologies licensed and the need for inventor cooperation in commercialization. Thus, for most university inventions, there is a moral-hazard problem with inventor effort. For such inventions, development does not occur unless the inventor's income is tied to the licensee's output by payments such as royalties or equity. Sponsored research from the licensee cannot by itself solve this problem.

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Authors

Jensen, Richard (U Notre Dame)
Thursby, Marie (Purdue U)

JEL Classifications

O34: Intellectual Property Rights
O31: Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
O38: Technological Change: Government Policy


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