IP Outreach Research > IP Use and Awareness


Title: Survey of Intellectual Property Commercialization in the Higher Education Sector 2001
Author: Cathy Read [Statistics Canada]


Year: 2003


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 (85) and affiliated research hospitals (31)
Methodology: Survey

Main Findings

61% of participating hospitals and 68% of universities are actively managing (identifying, protecting, promoting and/or commercialising) their intellectual property (IP), up from 58% and 62% respectively in 1999. 39% of hospitals and 62% of universities surveyed have one or more central offices engaged in IP management, up from 32% and 60% respectively in 1999.

In 2001, universities' operational expenditures on IP management were C$ 25.7 million (versus C$ 21.0 million in 1999; of which C$ 8.3 million for patent applications, versus C$ 5.7 million in 1999), and that of hospitals amounted to C$ 2.8 million. While in universities IP created at the institution is in the majority of cases owned by the researcher (although "no policy on ownership" is on the increase), in hospitals it is usually the institution that owns the created IP, if there is an ownership policy in place. In 2001, inventions created by students were reported in 27% of universities, and in 13% of hospitals. While all concerned hospitals had policies in place to address student inventions, far from all universities had policies to address this situation.

13% of universities (versus 15% in 1999) and slightly more than 3% of hospitals (versus 15% in 1999) reported being aware of at least one instance where the benefit from IP developed at the institution was realised by a foreign country; 39% (versus 37% in 1999) of universities (and 32% of hospitals, versus 26% in 1999) 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", "non-compliance with IP policies" (new), "lack of technology transfer capability" (new), "copyright infringement" (new), "inadequacy/lack of IP policies, protection or management", "lack of staff or funds" and "industry research contracts" (new).

For both universities and hospitals, it is the researcher that is primarily responsible for reporting new IP to the institution (unchanged); for universities, the option "other means/multiple approaches" has increased. In the last 5 years, 45% of hospitals (down from 47% two years earlier) and 48% of universities (up from 47%) have filed a patent application. In 2001, hospitals filed 65 new patent applications and were issued 42 patents. In the same time period, universities filed a total of 867 new patent applications and were issued 339 patents. In total, universities held 1.994 patents and hospitals 139 (up from 1.826 and 89 respectively, but including a greater number of institutions). The number of institutions registering copyright continues to be rather low, reflecting the fact that copyright protection is granted automatically in Canada and that many institutions do not keep detailed records of all works concerned by copyright. While in 2001 no industrial designs or integrated circuit topographies were registered, nine universities registered 17 trademarks (and 3 hospitals registered three). 5.9% of universities (up from 4.8%) protected a total of 16 new plant varieties. 44.7% of universities (up from 28.6 %) promoted 538 IPs, and 35.5% hospitals (up from 15.8%) did so for 107 IPs.

36.5% of universities (up from 33% in 1999; and 29% of hospitals, up from 26%) have licensed their technologies and possess in total 1.338 active licenses (86 for hospitals). Royalty income from licensing amounted to C$ 44.4 million (up from C$ 18.8 million) for universities, and to C$ 3.2 million (up from C$ 2.2 million) for hospitals. To date, universities and their affiliated research hospitals have created a total of 680 spin-off companies to commercialise their technologies, in most cases with a view to licensing technology only (41%, down from 46%). For universities, the value of remaining equity in spin-offs was C$ 45.1 million (down from C$ 54.6 million in 1999, due to falling stock markets).

[Date Added: Aug 18, 2008 ]