The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of patent regulation in universities in Germany and Sweden on the incentives to patent research results. This paper presents a comparative analysis of patent rights regimes in universities in Germany and Sweden.
Two research questions will be addressed:
- What are the incentive effects of patent regimes in the university? In case of Germany this means in particular: Does the abolishment of the university teachers´ privilege decrease or increase incentives to invent and patent? In the case of Sweden this means: Does the university teachers´ privilege give positive or negative incentives to individual researchers to invent and patent?
- What is the role of technology transfer offices? Particularly important in Germany is whether the technology transfer offices12 are able to patent and commercialise university research in a successful way as compared to researchers in a patent regime with university teachers´ privilege. In Sweden, the objective is to elaborate on the role of technology transfer offices in a regime with university teachers´ privilege.
In sum, this paper presents a comparative analysis of patent rights regimes in universities in Germany and Sweden. This covers a descriptive qualitative analysis of technology transfer processes, a qualitative analysis of the effects of patent rights regimes in universities on technology transfer, and an identification of factors that are important for technology transfer.13 Furthermore, the analysis leads to policy implications that recommend how to improve the process of technology transfer.
It has to be mentioned that there are a number of different ways to transfer knowledge and results from university research. As Czarnitzki et al. (2000, p. 18) have shown, there are different mechanisms and means for knowledge and technology transfer, such as, publications, collaborative research, educating students, spin-offs. This paper assesses the impact of patent regulation on the incentives to patent research results and, as such, it focuses in particular on patents.14 It focuses thus on a rather small share of university research. Most of the research results can be published in scientific journals but the extent to which research results can be patented varies. Only tangible products can be patented which limits the analysis to university departments in which patenting is an option such as engineering or biotechnology. Furthermore, the patenting procedure is quite time-consuming which decreases the importance of patents in industries with short product life-cycles.
Östersund, Sweden: Institutet för tillväxtpolitiska studier (ITPS) , 2004. , 113 p.