Faculty invention disclosure and patent assignment in university-industry technology transfer in China : a mixed methods study

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Faculty invention disclosure and patent assignment in university-industry technology transfer in China : a mixed methods study

 

Author: Chang, Xuhua
Title: Faculty invention disclosure and patent assignment in university-industry technology transfer in China : a mixed methods study
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2016
Subject: Academic-industrial collaboration -- China
Technological innovations -- Economic aspects -- China.
Technology transfer -- China.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xvi, 239 pages : illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2859543
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8428
Abstract: In the past few decades, universities have established a close relationship with industry, thus placing university-industry technology transfer at the forefront of academia, industry practice and policymaking. Discussions in this regard are based primarily on the assumption that university faculty voluntarily disclose details on inventions to the universities with which they are affiliated. Evidence from the US and European countries illustrate, however, that a sizeable number of faculty inventions are not assigned solely to universities. Many studies also point out that the invention disclosure process is affected by moral hazard and adverse selection. Although existing research has demonstrated the negative influence of invention disclosure on university technology transfer, few studies have been devoted to faculty invention disclosure in the context of Chinese universities. This scarcity is attributed to considerable difficulty in data collection. To fill the aforementioned research gaps, this thesis investigates the reality that surrounds the patent assignment practices of university faculty in mainland China. To this end, theoretical game models that simulate stakeholder strategies are developed. First, I create a special dataset that comprises 18,435 faculty/patent pairs. The investigation indicates that from 2002 to 2012 13.16% of pairs are not solely assigned to universities in 35 top patent application Chinese universities. The empirical study conducted at the individual faculty level correlates types of patent assignment with the characteristics of inventions, the intellectual eminence of universities and policies for licensing. The study emphasises the following insights: patent assignment changes depending on research field; university assignment is positively related to patent claims but negatively related to the number of co-inventors; and university royalty and equality policies play different roles in the patent assignment practices of university faculty. The empirical research carried out at the organisational level is intended to analyse the influence of university characteristics, R & D input/output and external environment. The results reveal that university faculty tend to attribute low-quality inventions to the universities with which they are connected.
Second, I scrutinise the influence of patent checking on faculty invention disclosure and university licensing strategies, after which I develop a static game model specifically for examining such influence. I found that patent evaluation is negatively related to invention disclosure but that it influences high-value inventions to a lesser extent. I propose that the requirement for universities to match checking policies, licensing strategies and checking rates are negatively related to inventor share rates. This study also explores the process of technology transfer from faculty inventors to industrial firms. The theoretical results uncover a series of conditions necessary for invention disclosure and commercial model selection. They also serve as bases for formulating an optimal revenue distribution scheme and patent licensing contract. The empirical results confirm the validity of the theoretical conclusions and provide valuable practical implications. Moreover, this research introduces the concept of a university technology transfer chain and generates a game model that enables the investigation of a double moral hazard problem. I found that the licence contract commonly adhered to in Chinese universities cannot reduce such hazard. The portfolio contract with royalties and revenue sharing successfully works only under specific circumstances, but the side-payment self-enforcing contract can effectively coordinate all stakeholder behaviours. Finally, on the basis of the empirical and theoretical insights derived in this work, the influence of university policies and government-related measures is qualitatively analysed. The policies and measures reviewed include regulations on the ownership of university inventions, patent checking, government funding and teachers' key performance indicators. This research provides new insights for faculty who are interested in patent application and presents implications for university administration and policymaking.

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