Determinants of national patent ownership by public research organisations and universities

Joaquín M. Azagra-Caro
The Journal of Technology Transfer

This paper focuses on the question of whether the national production functions of patents owned by universities and public research organisations (PROs) differ. We use Eurostat patent and R&D data broken down by institutional sector for the European Union 27 and other countries in years 1982–2007, and we estimate dynamic panel models. The impact of R&D expenditure on patent ownership is higher for PROs than for universities. University patent ownership activity is dependent on business funding, while PRO patent ownership is not. We recommend a reversal of the current decline of PRO R&D expenditure and discuss whether PROs perform better at macroeconomic level vis a vis universities.