LICENSING OR SPIN-OFFS? A COMPARISON OF THE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES TECHNOLOGY-TRANSFER REGIMES
Lund University (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Today most European countries have adopted a university-ownership technology-transfer system changing from a university inventor system or professor's privilege (Genua & Rossi, 2011). One of the strongest effects of changing to a university-owned system is a strengthening of the university support structures especially the founding or expansion of a Technology-Transfer organization (TTO). Most research indicates an increased output of patent applications, university-owned patents and license deals from the European universities (Genua & Rossi, 2011; Siegel et al, 2007).
The Scandinavian countries have since a decade changed university laws, policies and allocated specific resources in order to stimulate commercialization of university research. While Denmark and Norway changed intellectual property laws in favor of university ownership and pushed for commercialization early in the 2000's, Sweden retained the professor’s privilege system or university inventor system. The paper reports on a survey of Scandinavian universities’ technology-transfer offices regarding their patenting, licensing and university-spin-off activities in the years from 2000 to 2013. Results show an increase in commercialization activities in Denmark and Norway confirming earlier results by Genua and Rossi (2011). The Danish development shows a clear increase of patenting and licensing activity but a stagnation of university spin-offs. The Norwegian development is less clear but also here a pattern of more licensing and stagnation of spin-offs is visible. In contrast Swedish universities’ TTOs are organized for business development and produce mostly university spinoffs. Patenting is done also in Sweden but primarily in conjunction with the spinoff process. Moreover, licensing deals are rare in the Swedish system. The study provides some support for Kenney and Patton’s ( 2011) results that university owned systems favor the business model of licensing while university inventor systems favor the business model of spinoffs. This study does however note the effect of other factors than the university intellectual property regime as important in the development. These are government initiatives and resource allocations for university commercialization and the universities’ choice of commercialization support structure.
Keywords: Technology transfer, university-owned system, university-inventor system, licensing, spinoffs, business models.