Universities worldwide play a leading role in advancing the frontiers of science and technology. In recent years, a key concern for policy-makers has been how to ensure that the wealth of knowledge generated within universities can be transferred to industry so that society in general, and local businesses in particular, can benefit from university scientific and technological expertise. The realization that important research results would not reach society as a result of bottlenecks in the commercialization of university research results led to increasing interest in finding the most adequate frameworks to promote university-industry partnerships for the transfer of technology. Intellectual property rights have been identified in many countries as a mechanism that provides the necessary incentives for the commercialization of university research results. Data from a number of Asian countries show a marked increase in the number of patent applications filed by universities.
National governments have enacted policies to promote university-industry technology transfer, and various Asian universities have adopted formal intellectual property policies and established technology transfer offices to manage their intellectual property rights. The time, therefore, seemed ripe for embarking on an analysis of university-industry partnerships for technology transfer in Asia, with a view to identifying some of the lessons that may be learned for the future.