Patents and Academic Research: A State of the Art.
Nicolas van Zeebroeck
Bruno van Pottelsberghe
The sharp increase in academic patenting over the past 20 years raises important issues regarding the generation and diffusion of academic knowledge. Three key questions may be raised in this respect: What is behind the surge in academic patenting? Does patenting affect the quality and quantity of universities' scientific output? Does the patent system limit the freedom to perform academic research? The present paper summarizes the existing literature on these issues. The evidence suggests that academic patenting has only limited effects on the direction, pace and quality of research. A virtuous cycle seems to characterise the patent-publication relationship. Secondly, scientific anti-commons show very little effects on academic researchers so far, limited to a few countries with weak or no research exemption regulations. In a nutshell, the evidence leads us to conclude that the benefits of academic patenting on research exceed their potential negative effects.
Patent systems, Research Exemption, Academic Patenting.
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