Large Companies’ Preemption of University Inventions by Joint Research
Is Strangling Japanese Entrepreneurship and Contributing to the Degradation
of University Science
Robert Kneller, Sachiko Shudo
Journal of Intellectual Property Association of Japan Vol.5 No.2 p.36-50（2008-11-20）
Joint research collaborations in Japan have increased dramatically. In major universities, most collaboration in advanced science and technology involve large companies. Many have facilitated the development of university discoveries. However, patent law and the system of university IP management have enabled large partner companies to control (preempt) the majority of university discoveries that have commercial value. This limits growth opportunities for new high-technology companies and, by by-passing TLOS and IP management offices, thwarts the development of effective technology management capabilities on the part of universities. This is a problem since new companies are better at early stage innovation than old companies in many new fields of technology. Preemption exacerbates the weakness of Japanese high technology entrepreneurship. Preemption of university discoveries by large companies is the result of policies that make preemption easy, encourage university research in applied fields, and allow findings to be kept secret thereby encouraging more applied research that is likely to be preempted. Whether the short-term benefits for large companies justify the foregone opportunities for pioneering research and the undermining of entrepreneurship and academic freedom is a question that needs serious consideration. This paper 0ffers some recommendations to curb the worst excesses of preemption and to reward pioneering university research.
University-Industry, Collaboration, Joint Research, Joint Patents, Ventures/Startups/Entrepreneurship, Science Policy