The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 250–263 | Cite as

Copyrights in higher education: motivating a research agenda

  • Jacob H. RooksbyEmail author
  • Christopher S. Hayter


The Bayh–Dole Act of 1980 enabled American universities to engage in technology transfer. Thirty years of research has investigated the legislation’s effectiveness and derivative university practices, such as the establishment of technology transfer offices. Unfortunately, the technology transfer literature has focused primarily on patenting as the primary transfer vehicle for protecting intellectual property in universities, overlooking other forms of IP ownership, such as copyrights. Legal scholarship shows, however, that universities are increasingly using copyrights to protect their intellectual property and that the number of university-held copyrights exceeds patents. This paper examines the use of copyrights to protect and transfer university IP. It does so by reviewing underlying legal and policy concepts associated with copyrights and offers contemporary examples of copyright issues within universities. The paper therefore provides a foundation for future research on the role of copyrights in technology transfer.


Copyrights Technology transfer Bayh–Dole Act Intellectual property Knowledge exchange Law Patents Legal research 

JEL Classification

O32 O34 O38 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Center for Organization Research and Design, School of Public AffairsArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA

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