Economic Research Report No. (ERR-15) 60 pp

March 2006

Government Patenting and Technology Transfer

This report examines the use of intellectual property rights in Federal technology transfer, focusing primarily on the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS uses patenting and licensing when a technology requires additional development by a private sector partner to yield a marketable product. Licensing revenue is not a major motivation. Greater use of patenting and licensing by ARS has not reduced the use of traditional instruments of technology transfer such as scientific publication. The structure of licensing agreements affects technology transfer outcomes. Mutually advantageous revisions to license terms may at times maintain the incentives through which private companies distribute the benefits of public research.

Keywords: Patents, licenses, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, Agricultural Research Service, ARS, agricultural research and development

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