Abstract

Legal reforms in many countries, such as the Bayh-Dole act in the US, have resulted in a shift from a ‘weak organizational regime’< /i> (the inventing employee holds the property rights in own inventions) to a ‘strong organizational regime’ (the employer holds property rights in employee inventions during work time). This seems to have drastically changed the way academic entrepreneurs, who create technology ventures to commercially exploit their discoveries, deal with their intellectual property. However, to date, we know little about why academic entrepreneurs seek patents, both before and after such reforms, since prior research on patenting has focused on scientists in general and established firms. In this paper, we suggest that founder characteristics, including entrepreneurial orientation and expert knowledge, and organizational characteristics, including publication norms, patenting norms, and patenting quality enhance patent propensity. Moreover, organizational characteristics are suggested to prevail in strong organizational regimes, founder characteristics in weak organizational regimes. Put differently, the regime shift has, as we argue, led to an (over)emphasize of organizational norms and capabilities at the expense of founder motivation and capabilities.

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