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The Contribution of Academic Knowledge to the Value of Industry Inventions: Micro level evidence from patent inventors

Claudio Fassio, Aldo Geuna and Federica Rossi

Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers from University of Turin

Abstract: There is little evidence on the specific characteristics of the process of university-industry knowledge transfer leading to the generation of valuable inventions. Using the results of an original survey of industry inventors of European patents, resident in the Italian region of Piedmont, we analyze what determines the value of inventions that have benefited from academic knowledge. We find that inventors with greater cognitive proximity to the university and higher patenting output are more likely to interact with universities and to benefit from u niversity knowledge. After controlling for the characteristics of firms and technologies, we find that it is the transfer of theoretical academic knowledge rather than solutions to more technical and specified problems that leads to more valuable inventions. We found some evidence that knowledge transfer processes involving direct personal collaboration between the company inventor and the university researcher (which are characterized by higher trust as a result of social network embeddedness) are conducive to relatively higher value inventions.

Pages: 45 pages
Date: 2014-07
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