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UK universities look beyond the patent policy discourse in their intellectual property strategies

Oxford Journals
Publication Date
  • Management
  • Law
  • Linguistics


In recent years, policy discourse has placed much emphasis on the patenting of the outcomes of academic research. However, universities produce a wide variety of intellectual property (IP), not all of which is suitable for patenting, or which the universities may choose not to patent. Building upon an original survey of 46 universities in the UK, we investigate the extent to which universities exchange several forms of IP (patents, copyright, open source IP, non-patented innovations), whether they are used as complements or substitutes, how relatively effective and efficient they are in allowing universities to reach certain objectives (relating to knowledge transfer, competitive positioning, knowledge creation/innovation and financial income). The results challenge the view, which underpins legislation such as the Bayh-Dole Act and similar provisions now adopted in most OECD countries, that patents are the most effective route for knowledge dissemination in the economy.

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