Is regional catching-up a motivation for university patenting?

5th Triple Helix Conference. 18-21 Mayo 2005
The main objective of this contribution is to test whether university patents are an indicator of technology transfer potential at regional level. We build a university patent production function with 1519 patents for the 17 Spanish autonomous regions (NUTS-2) in a time span of 14 years (1988-2001). We use discrete choice econometric models to estimate their determinants. Among independent variables we include several indicators of proximity to other institutions? technological competences. Our results suggest that the lower the proximity in technologies for production-intensive sectors, the more likely it will be that universities generate patents, whereas proximity in other technologies does not have a significant effect. We conclude that catching-up technological competencies of the region motivates university patenting in technologies where the dichotomy between patentable and non-patentable research is stronger. For the rest of technologies, university patents are not necessarily a measure of regional technology transfer.