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Inventing and patenting activities of scientists: in the expectation of money or reputation?

  • Education
  • Mathematics


Inventing and patenting activities of scientists: in the expectation of money or reputation? Devrim Go¨ktepe-Hulten Æ Prashanth Mahagaonkar Published online: 10 June 2009 � The Author(s) 2009. This article is published with open access at Abstract We propose that scientists use patents/invention disclosures as signals to gain reputation than financial benefits. Based on a newly created dataset on the commercial activities among 2,500 scientists affiliated with 67 institutes of the German Max Planck Society, we explore the relation between the expectations of scientists concerning the outcomes of commercial activities and the likelihood of their patenting and disclosure behaviors. We find that expectation of gaining financial benefits are not related with the patenting activities of scientists without industrial cooperation. Instead, their expectation to gain/increase reputation through commercial activities is correlated with their patenting and disclosures activities. This may in turn also increase the possibility to gain academic promotion, financial benefits through industrial collaboration etc., rather than the imme- diate personal financial gains. Keywords Academic commercialization � Patents � Rewards � Reputation � Signaling JEL Classification B31 � O31 � O34 1 Introduction Scientists carry out the tasks of education, research and commercial activities (the third task) at universities. Despite their importance, the roles, motivations and perceptions of university inventors have been relatively neglected topics of study. As Link and Siegel (2007) have argued, since the initiation of the Bayh–Dole Act, scholars who assess university technology transfer have examined institutions that have emerged to facilitate entrepreneurial D. Go¨ktepe-Hulten (&) � P. Mahagaonkar Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, Germany e-mail: [email protected] P. Mahagaonkar Schumpeter School of Business and Economics-University of Wuppertal, Wuppe

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