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Ownership and quality of academic patents

Patent quality and ownership: An analysis of UK faculty patenting

Research Policy (forthoming)

Abstract
The relationship between ownership structure and the quality of academic inventions has not been deeply analysed, despite its relevance for the literature on IPR and university–industry knowledge transfer. This paper fills the gap by using a novel dataset of academic patents in the UK, both university-owned and corporate-owned for the period 1990–2001.
The main results may be summarized as follows. (1) Controlling for observable inventor and patent characteristics, academic patents owned by business companies receive more citations in the first years after the filing date than those owned by universities or other public research organizations, but this difference diminishes when considering a longer time window, and it disappears when considering only later citations. Interestingly, (2) change of ownership is an indicator of patent quality: academic patents owned by companies but originally assigned to universities or other public research organizations show a noticebly higher quality premium. Finally, (3) professor's scientific quality appears slightly correlated with patent quality.

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