The effects of patent litigation on university licensing efforts

Scott Shane, Deepak Somaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One effect of increased patenting by universities over the past 20 years has been a rise in lawsuits to enforce university patent rights. In this paper we ask what effect patent litigation has on university efforts to license technology. Using secondary data on licensing and interviews with technology licensing office (TLO) directors for research universities, we find both qualitative and quantitative evidence that patent litigation has an adverse effect on university licensing activity. Our interviews suggest that this adverse effect occurs because litigation disrupts overall TLO activity, and reduces the time and resources available for marketing technologies and establishing licenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-755
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Licensing
  • Litigation
  • Patents
  • Public policy
  • Universities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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