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An Investigation of the Idea Generation and Protection Process in Academia

Golish, Bradley Lawrence (2007) An Investigation of the Idea Generation and Protection Process in Academia. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 enabled U.S. universities to patent inventions developed through federally funded research programs. This provided an opportunity for academia to develop technologies from the research conducted by faculty. Over 25 years have passed and 39,671 patents have been granted to academic inventors. Unfortunately, this accounts for less than two percent of the total patents awarded in the U.S. during this time. To address this concern, the research presented here investigates the academic technology development process to determine factors that are critical to shaping ideas towards creating patentable technologies. While past research has been corporate-focused and conducted from the managerial perspective; this research examined the process from the inventor perspective and from the technology transfer office through two investigations that utilized a common framework. Study One, focused in the area of Radio Frequency Identification, explored the process from idea generation to protection of 11 successful patent inventors. The inventors created concept maps describing their development process. Five investigations were conducted on the maps: three quantitative and two qualitative. The participating corporate inventors focused more on financial issues and in regards to "challenges" found strategic issues to be more problematic and societal aspects to be more time-consuming and problematic than did the academic inventors. Part II of Study One involved an inventor questionnaire based on the information gathered in Part I. Unfortunately, the response rate was ineffectively poor resulting in inconclusive data. Study Two identified the critical duties being performed by technology transfer offices (TTOs). One qualitative and two quantitative analyses were conducted on the data collected from a TTO licensing manager survey. Analyses from this study provided insight on elements that influence TTO success factors. From these two studies, a model for academic technology development was created. If new and existing TTOs can facilitate academic inventors with respect to the elements identified in this model, the possibility exists to further stimulate the quality and quantity of the number of patents arising from academia.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Golish, Bradley
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBesterfield-Sacre, Marymbsacre@engr.pitt.eduMBSACRE
Committee MemberNeedy, Kimkimneedy@pitt.eduKIMNEEDY
Committee MemberShuman, Larryshuman@pitt.eduSHUMAN
Committee MemberMickle, Marlinmickle@pitt.eduMICKLE
Committee MemberLovell, Michaelmlovell@pitt.eduMLOVELL
Date: 25 September 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 29 June 2007
Approval Date: 25 September 2007
Submission Date: 23 July 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Industrial Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: academic inventor; corporate inventor; patents; technology development; technology transfer office; university technology transfer
Other ID:, etd-07232007-190356
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:53
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:46


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