REMARKS TO SPIN-OFF FIRMS AT THE UNIVERSITIES IN THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC
University of Zilina (SLOVAKIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The transfer of knowledge and the protection of the intellectual property of universities and research institutes is currently a current topic discussed in many professional forums, presented in the media, incorporated into every current project. Basic research questions concern the definition of concepts associated with the transfer of knowledge and technology such as "spin-off firms", as well as processes at universities and various aspects of cooperation between universities and spin-off companies. The focus on the Slovak Republic results from the need to perceive and respect national legislation associated primarily with the rights of universities in relation to property rights, protection of intellectual property, conditions for technology transfer and knowledge in practice. Within the Slovak Republic, primary research was carried out on spin-off firms at universities. Primary research focused on various aspects of the creation and existence of spin-off firms at universities, from the method of founding a firm, through the provision of basic personnel, financial and technical resources for business implementation and ways to prevent conflicts of interest in establishing a spin-off firm to the possibility of paying administrative fees related to the legal protection of the subject of intellectual property, the method of distribution of profits from the commercialization of intellectual property and the main motivating factors for the establishment of a spin-off firm. The results show that the founders of spin-off and start-up companies generally prefer to avoid university ownership, they are afraid of university interventions in the management of the company, while university employees often lack the "entrepreneurial spirit" and can therefore paralyze the company, or even disable. Conflicts of interest can be considered a risk aspect. All participating respondents stated that they consider the enrichment of teaching and the presentation of practical cases from practice to be the main non-financial benefits of spin-off activity, which document the way in which the research results are put into practice. Respondents also consider the creation of a space for employees where they can develop and learn to do business, create new inventions and learn how to develop their ideas and gain practical experience to be a significant benefit. The university then acts as an incubator. The non-financial benefit is very significant and also lies in the positive impact on the image of the university. The following activities of the university have a positive impact on the establishment and development of spin-off firms: the quality of research potential; the credibility and image of the university and the material background of the university. In the field of intellectual property management, we are increasingly encountering the use of open source solutions in software development, with the commercialization of university research results free of charge, while the company is a sponsor of further university research or a partner. Legislative norms, and in particular the way in which universities are funded, partially restrict the freedom of action of universities in relation to the transfer of knowledge and technology into practice.
Keywords: University, spin-off, knowledge transfer, technology transfer, intellectual property rights.