The impacts of foreignness and cultural distance on commercialization of patents

Eric Joseph van Holm, Heyjie Jung, Eric W. Welch

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Scopus citations


    Foreign-born academic scientists have been consistently shown to be more productive than the native-born in the United States with regard to research and patents. However, no study has yet analyzed whether the foreign-born are also more likely to commercialize their research after having it patented. This paper utilizes a 2010 survey of academic inventors to analyze whether a selected patent had been licensed or whether technology transfer offices were currently working with a company. Additional analysis was conducted to understand where patents were held (whether by a private company, spinoff, government, or university) for those patents that had been successfully licensed in the past. Findings show that the foreign-born are generally less likely to have their patents licensed or to be working with technology transfer offices, though the significance of the results are mixed. In addition, the foreign-born are more likely to have their licenses held by private companies, while the native-born are more likely to work with spinoffs. These results indicate that technology transfer offices can better serve a key part of the academic workforce.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)29-61
    Number of pages33
    JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Feb 2021


    • Commercialization of research
    • Foreign-born faculty
    • Patents
    • Technology transfer offices

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Accounting
    • Engineering(all)


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