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The patenting activity of German Universities

Autoren/Herausgeber: Glauber, J.
Wollersheim, J.
Sandner, P.
Welpe, I. M.
Erschienen: 2015
Publikationsart: Articles in Refereed Journals (International)
erschienen in: Journal of Business Economics, 85(7), pp. 719-757


Patents serve as indicators of a university’s knowledge base; consequently, information on the patent volumes and patenting activity of universities is crucial for scientific and industrial organizations and policy makers. By matching secondary patent data from PATSTAT with secondary data on German universities from the CHE research ranking, we provided a broad overview of the patenting activity of German universities. Specifically, we first introduced a patent ranking. Second, we analyzed a broad spectrum of different indicators of the patenting behavior of German universities. Third, we analyzed potential determinants of their patent output. Our data revealed that patenting activity varied not only among the 25 universities that had the highest overall number of patent applications between 2002 and 2011 but also among the 156 universities that filed at least one patent. Using a Heckman sample selection model for our regression analyses, we analyzed (1) the influence of university size, university type, technical university, and faculty profile on the probability that a German university was active in patenting (N = 328) and (2) the relationships between patenting experience, research breadth, and research quality and the patent output of German universities (N = 156). Our findings suggest that patent output at least partly depends on these determinants, thereby shedding light on the substantial performance differences in patenting activities that existed in our sample.

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