Academic entrepreneurship: Which inventors do technology licensing officers prefer for spinoffs?

Abstract

Technology licensing officers play an important role in the creation of university spinoffs. Anecdotal data suggests that licensing officers make use of the representativeness heuristic when deciding which inventors’ technologies should (not) be commercialized through the founding of new companies. In this context, use of the representativeness heuristic implies that licensing officers favor for spinoff creation the inventions of academics that “fit” the profile of a typical inventor-entrepreneur. To examine this possibility, we conduct a randomized experiment with more than 200 technology licensing officers at U.S. universities and find evidence consistent with the use of the representativeness heuristic.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Licensing officers may consider other attributes. However, we do not yet have (any initial) evidence that other attributes may serve as key characteristics of inventor-entrepreneurs which might trigger the representativeness heuristic in licensing officer decisions making.

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Acknowledgments

Scott Shane gratefully acknowledges Grant Number 20050177 entitled “Women, Minorities and Entrepreneurship” from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which supported this research. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of InnovationLab at Eindhoven University of Technology.

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Correspondence to Sharon A. M. Dolmans.

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Shane, S., Dolmans, S.A.M., Jankowski, J. et al. Academic entrepreneurship: Which inventors do technology licensing officers prefer for spinoffs?. J Technol Transf 40, 273–292 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-014-9365-8

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Keywords

  • University spinoffs
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Technology licensing offices
  • University inventions
  • Technology commercialization

JEL Classification

  • L26
  • M13
  • O31
  • O32