The Globalization of Academic Entrepreneurship? The Recent Growth (2009-2014) in University Patenting Decomposed

Loet Leydesdorff, Henry Etzkowitz, and Duncan Kushnir, The Recent Growth (2009-2014) in University Patenting at USPTO (under submission).


The contribution of academia to US patents has become increasingly global. Following a pause, with a relatively flat rate, from 1998 to 2008, the long-term trend of university patenting rising as a share of all patenting has resumed, driven by the internationalization of academic entrepreneurship and the persistence of US university technology transfer. We disaggregate this recent growth in university patenting at the US Patent and Trademark Organization (USPTO) in terms of nations and patent classes. Foreign patenting in the US has almost doubled during the period 2009-2014, mainly due to patenting by universities in Taiwan, Korea, China, and Japan. These nations compete with the US in terms of patent portfolios, whereas most European countries–with the exception of the UK–have more specific portfolios, mainly in the bio-medical fields. In the case of China, Tsinghua University holds 63% of the university patents in USPTO, followed by King Fahd University with 55.2% of the national portfolio.


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