Japan’s universities fail to make most of intellectual property

Due to lack of support, patents earn only 2% that of U.S. schools

TOKYO — Universities in Japan fail to make effective use of their intellectual property due to a lack of support programs to link their research findings to businesses, with top schools earning just 2% as much from patents as U.S. schools rake in.

“We have an overwhelming shortage of staffing capable of drawing up patent strategies. We are given only millions of yen (tens of thousands of dollars) to verify whether study results can be developed into products,” laments a professor preparing to found a drug development startup at Okayama University in western Japan.

“There is no way of starting a new business, even if we want to,” he said.

According to the professor, a German university he previously worked for partnered with a laboratory where intellectual property experts discovered promising seeds in the university’s findings, conducted market research and drew up business models.

After the experts concluded that the research had commercial potential, the university filed for patents. It received a few million dollars for the verification process for commercialization.

Find out more : Nikkei Asia


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