University Intellectual Property Policies And University-Industry Technology Transfer In Canada
This research investigates the relationship between those incentives for faculty support of university-industry technology transfer that are governed by university intellectual property policies and technology transfer outcomes at Canadian universities. <br /> Empirical research, chiefly conducted in the United States, has explored the link between the incentives that are governed by IP policies and various outcomes and found that financial incentives are correlated with a variety of outcomes. This research extends the literature by exploring the same underlying relationship, in Canada, where IP policies also determine ownership and control of the development of the IP; some universities retain control over the development and other universities let the ownership and control vest with the inventors. <br />The research question was pursued by conducting three studies, each of which provided a different perspective. The first study seeks to explain cross-institutional patterns in the numbers of patents held by Canadian universities using variables that represent the financial incentives and control offered to faculty inventors by the universities' policies. The second study investigated the impact of a policy change at the University of Toronto, using interrupted time series analysis techniques. The third study investigated the experiences of faculty inventors at the University of Waterloo through indepth interviews and thematic analysis of the resulting qualitative data. <br /> The first, cross-sectional study failed to generate statistically significant results. In the second, longitudinal study, the change from a "university-owns" to an "inventor-owns" policy appeared to have significantly and substantially increased the number of invention disclosures submitted to the University of Toronto by its faculty members. The third, qualitative study suggests that faculty members interpret the incentives governed by intellectual property policies and that this interpretation is shaped by group norms, academic leadership, university culture and the inventors' experiences with technology transfer support organizations. Therefore, Studies 2 and 3 indicate that university intellectual property policies are effective levers with which to stimulate university-industry technology transfer and thus deserve further study. The importance of university factors in Study 3 implies that intellectual property policies must fit with their organizational contexts in order to be productive. <br />This research also has important policy implications. Many governments have been attempting to emulate the American Bayh-Dole Act by introducing or changing national regulations affecting university IP policies. This research suggests that these national regulations may actually depress researcher support for technology transfer and thus the amount of activity at those institutions that would benefit from an alternate policy. In effect, standardization of university IP policies through national regulations may deprive university administrators of an effective lever for encouraging technology transfer on their campuses. This inference will be the focus of further research which will broaden the work documented in this dissertation by exploring the relationship between university IP policies, university-industry technology transfer, and university factors, including culture, across a wider range of universities.