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Monetization Strategies of University Patents Through PAEs: an Analysis of US Patent Transfers

AuthorsFusco, Stefania; Lissoni, Francesco; Martínez, Catalina CSIC ORCID ; Sterzi, Valerio
Issue Date2019
PublisherEdizioni Efesto
CitationCatalano, Giuseppe; Daraio, Cinzia; Gregori, Martina; Moed, Henk F.; Ruocco, Giancarlo (eds.). Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics. Volume I, Roma: Efesto Edizioni: 1184-1194 (2019)
AbstractThe pressure to extract rents from academic research results has led many universities to file more patents and to rely on a growing range of monetization strategies including selling patents to Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs). We build a database of university patents granted by the USPTO and, for each of them, we collect information about the change of ownership. A first analysis of these data shows that about 12% of university patents have been transferred at least once (including reassignments to universities, hospitals, public research centres and governmental institutions) and only a minor part has been acquired by PAEs (the 0.3% of university patents). However, we also find that most transfers of university patents to PAEs occurred in the last ten years (3.4% of transfers). These acquisitions are largely concentrated in two large PAEs that acquired about 70% of all PAEsacquired university patents: Intellectual Ventures and Intellectual Discovery. An econometric analysis on the characteristics of university patents transferred to PAEs shows that patents transferred to PAEs are of high quality, suggesting that PAEs cherry pick good patents for monetization purposes. However, PAEs acquire from universities older patents than those transferred to producing companies. This fact suggests that these transfers are not linked to technology transfer.
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