This paper discusses the question: should universities patent their inventions or should not? The question is analyzed through the lens of the logic of the scientific production. It is also considered the critics pointed in the literature and presented and discussed the results of an original survey on technology transfer from universities and public labs to firms in Brazil. It is discussed the existence of a trade-off between the free access to new scientific knowledge and the agility of university’s inventions commercialization. It is argued that the question should be “how” should universities patent their inventions instead of “should or not”. From the society welfare point-of-view, universities should try licensing without exclusivity in order to assure that the invention reach the highest number of firms interested in the development of the invention. It would be desirable to concede research excuses for those interested in the use of university patents for scientific research purposes.
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