Case Study: The Axel Patents-A Case Study in University-Technology Transfer

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2013-11-25

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Abstract

The Axel Patents are among the most lucrative university patents in history, earning $790 million in royalty revenues for Columbia University. This paper tells the story of the Axel Patents, from the initial scientific discovery, through the decision to patent, to the non-exclusive licensing strategies Columbia used to spread the technology, the measures Columbia took to extend the life of the patents, and the controversy that erupted when another patent was issued in 2002. Columbia plowed most of the revenues back into research, including Richard Axel's work that earned him a Nobel Prize. Columbia's aggressive pursuit of extended patent duration, however, also led it to considerable legal expenditures that have proven fruitless to date, and brought criticism for behavior unbecoming a nonprofit academic institution. This case study showcases a highly successful example of university entrepreneurship, and provides a cautionary tale of an attempted patent extension.

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Full text of a case study report of Columbia U axel patents. Written by A. Colaianni (2007) and submitted to a journal. (.doc, one doc, 28 pages)

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Colaianni, Alessandra (2013). Case Study: The Axel Patents-A Case Study in University-Technology Transfer. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8111.