IP Outreach Research > IP Use and Awareness


Title: Survey of Intellectual Property Commercialization in the Higher Education Sector 1999
Author: Cathy Read [Statistics Canada]


Year: 2000


Subject/Type: IP Protection
Focus: Commercialisation, Economic / Financial Impact
Country/Territory: Canada
Objective: To illuminate the overall process of intellectual property management in the higher education sector.
Sample: 100+ universities/degree-granting colleges (84) and affiliated research hospitals (19)
Methodology: Survey

Main Findings

58% of participating hospitals and 62% of universities are actively managing (identifying, protecting, promoting and/or commercialising) their intellectual property (IP). 32% of hospitals and 60% of universities surveyed have one or more central offices engaged in IP management. In 1999, universities' operational expenditures on IP management were C$ 21.0 million (of which C$ 5.7 million for patent applications), and that of hospitals amounted to slightly less than C$ 1 million. While in universities IP created at the institution is in the majority of cases owned by the researcher, in hospitals it is usually the institution that owns the created IP.

15% of both universities and hospitals reported being aware of at least one instance where the benefit from IP developed at the institution was realised by a foreign country; 37% of universities (and 26% of hospitals) were aware of other instances where the institution had not gained the maximum benefit from IP developed within. The most cited barriers to IP commercialisation include: "premature disclosure of IP", "brain drain", "lack of IP policies, protection or management", "lack of staff or funds" and "IP is undervalued".

For both universities and hospitals, it is the researcher that is primarily responsible for reporting new IP to the institution; several universities reported planning to play a more active role in identifying new IP. In the last 5 years, 47% of both hospitals and universities have filed a patent application. In 1999, hospitals filed 40 new patent applications and were issued 24 patents. In the same time period, universities filed a total of 616 new patent applications and were issued 325 patents. In total, universities held 1.826 patents and hospitals 89. The number of institutions registering copyright is low, reflecting the fact that copyright protection is granted automatically in Canada. While in 1999 no industrial designs or integrated circuit topographies were registered, seven universities registered 17 trademarks (hospitals registered one). 4.8% of universities protected a total of 30 new plant varieties. 28.6% of universities promoted 394 IPs, and 15.8% of hospitals did so for 17 IPs.

33% of universities (26% of hospitals) have licensed their technologies and possess in total 1.109 active licenses (56 for hospitals). Royalty income from licensing amounted to C$ 18.8 million for reporting universities, and to C$ 2.2 million for hospitals. To date, 39% of universities and 21% of their affiliated research hospitals have created a total of 471 spin-off companies (17 of which created by hospitals) to commercialise their technologies, in most cases with a view to licensing technology only (46%). For universities, the value of remaining equity in spin-offs amounted to C$ 54.6 million.

[Date Added: Aug 18, 2008 ]