Panel Paper: Incentives for Patenting By Foreign-Born University Scientists

Saturday, November 10, 2018
8209 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Eric Joseph van Holm, Eric Welch and Heyjie Jung, Arizona State University

In 1980, Congress enacted the Bayh-Dole act in order to further encourage patenting activity by universities and their faculty. Analyses of the law’s effects have been consistently positive, showing that the act has had its intended effect and encouraged greater patenting and commercialization of university knowledge (Kenney & Patton, 2009; Mowret, Nelson, Sampat & Ziedonis, 2001). However, increased emphasis on the patenting of research has not been the only change Universities have undergone in the last several decades.

Concurrently with the increased importance of commercialization has been the internationalization of American universities. In the United States, foreign-born faculty make up 24 percent of all full-time post-secondary faculty (Lin, Pearce, & Wang, 2009)with especially high numbers in engineering (49%) and computer sciences (51%) (National Science Board, 2014). Research has consistently found foreign-born faculty in the United States to be more productive in terms of publications, conference presentations, and grants, and along those lines Corley and Sabharwal (2007) show that foreign-born faculty are more likely to file patents. However, scant research has examined the different incentives, resources, or psychology foreign-born faculty use or requires in the patenting process meaning that universities may be able to better support their existing talent.

Preliminary results demonstrate that foreign born faculty are equally productive with regard to producing patents, but appear to receive less direct rewards for doing so. That is, they are less likely than other faculty to have their patents licensed, receive royalties from the patent, or develop a spinoff.

Full Paper: