Japanese universities to acquire stock option rights as IP license fees

Previously on this blog, we featured a story about a fight on patent royalty between a university researcher and a licensee company. And, it suggested a problem of a talent shortage for intellectual property in the university. 

Licensing Revenues of Japanese Universities

When talking about licensing revenues of universities, Japanese universities are often compared with American universities. Then, Japanese universities’ low income is considered a problem. In fact, American universities earned USD 2,562 million in 2016, according to University Network for Innovation and Technology Transfer (UNITT). On the other hand, Japanese universities earned JPY 4.53 billion (about USD 41.2 million). There is a big gap between them. However, it is not simply because of the talent shortage. 

Law Revision to Encourage Universities to Hold Shares and Stock Option Rights

 In January 2019, a revised law on revitalizing science and technology and innovation creation has become effective. This revision makes it easier for national universities to hold shares and stock option rights. The universities have usually demanded cash payments, when someone tries to start a business using patented technologies of a university. Thanks to the revised law, they will be able to expect great return on the success of the licensee companies. Hopefully, it may reduce the gap between Japanese and American universities.

Japanese Universities’ Declining Ability to Research

However, in fact, Japanese universities face a more serious problem than low licensing revenue. It is a decline in ability to research. We see the decline in the international status in terms of both quality and quantity of research papers, and the stagnation in international joint papers. If they cannot produce excellent research results, either IP strategies or IP management have little or no meaning. So, it is urgently necessary to develop a solution to solve this problem. 

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