Turning Science into Business

Patenting and Licensing at Public Research Organisations

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This report presents the results of the first international survey on the patenting and licensing activities of public research organisations in OECD countries. It includes data on the stock and number of patents and licenses, the amount of licensing revenue, the size and activities of technology transfer offices, the types of licensing agreements concluded with firms, as well as information on the government and institutional policies for owning and exploiting intellectual property. In addition to the survey results, policy makers, business managers and university and research administrators will find several case studies on how OECD countries are moving to unlock the social and economic benefits of public research. These case studies will also provide insight into how research institutions deal with issues such as whether to license a patent or create a spin-off, how to create technology transfer programmes and how to license IP to firms while preserving access for future research and discovery.


Executive Summary

Intellectual property (IP) rights – of which patents, industrial designs, copyrights and trademarks are among the most widespread – reward investment in R&D and innovation by granting inventors and creators market power over competitors. Over the past decade in many OECD countries, universities, national laboratories and other research organisations receiving significant public research funds (hereafter referred to as “public research organisations – PROs”) have become more aware of the value of their intellectual property. In large part, this awareness reflects the recognition by governments that, in some cases, placing the outputs of publicly funded research in the public domain is not sufficient to generate social and economic benefits from research...


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