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Putting Patents in Context:Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT

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dc.contributor.author Agrawal, Ajay
dc.contributor.author Henderson, Rebecca
dc.date.accessioned 2003-12-18T18:08:49Z
dc.date.available 2003-12-18T18:08:49Z
dc.date.issued 2001-08-09
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/3957
dc.description.abstract In this paper we explore the degree to which patents are representative of the magnitude, direction, and impact of the knowledge spilling out of the university by focusing on MIT, and in particular on the departments of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data, we show that patenting is a minority activity: a majority of the faculty in our sample never patent, and publication rates far outstrip patenting rates. Most faculty members estimate that patents account for less than 10% of the knowledge that transfers from their labs. Our results also suggest that in two important ways patenting is not representative of the patterns of knowledge generation and transfer from MIT: patent volume does not predict publication volume, and those firms that cite MIT papers are in general not the same firms as those that cite MIT patents. However, patent volume is positively correlated with paper citations, suggesting that patent counts may be reasonable measures of research impact. We close by speculating on the implications of our results for the difficult but important question of whether, in this setting, patenting acts as a substitute or a complement to the process of fundamental research. en
dc.description.sponsorship MIT Center for Innovation in Product Development under NSF Cooperative Agreement Number EEC-9529140 and the Center for Knowledge-Based Enterprises at Queen’s University en
dc.format.extent 203587 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.subject patents en
dc.subject patenting en
dc.subject MIT en
dc.subject Mechanical and Electrical Engineering en
dc.subject knowlege generation en
dc.subject Knowledge transfer en
dc.title Putting Patents in Context:Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT en
dc.type Working Paper en


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