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les Nouvelles - September 2009


Technology Transfer Between Academy And Industry – A Comparison Of The Situation In Germany And United Kingdom

Meital Werner

Munich, Germany

Heinz Goddar, PhD

Boehmert & Boehmert, Patent Attorney, Munich, Germany

The paper will explore the legal relationship between industry, academia and government in research collaboration and technology transfer in Germany in comparison to the UK and will raise the questions, to which extent the recent legal changes in Germany have actually improved the academy-industry collaboration and if the current practice would not have been simpler if Germany was not bound to its legal tradition.

I. Introduction

In the last decade there has been a growing awareness to the value of university-industry collaboration in regard to innovation and technology development. The industry has become more open to mutual research projects with different partners. The old practice, where companies conducted their research only “in house” with their own means and facilities, has changed. Globalization and hard commercial competition demands from companies to extend their range of products and specialties in order to remain competitive in the market. The need for expansion leads to a need for more research in different fields. Most companies have neither the capacity nor the financial means to conduct such researches “in house.” In this new business reality, the universities present an ideal partner for research cooperation. The academic environment offers a fertile ground for innovation with a permanent exchange of young, innovative, up-to-date researchers. Nevertheless, a cooperation between the academic world and the industry is not a natural one. Each party has different objectives–a business oriented industry compared to the academic approach of universities. Due to this “cultural” gap the interaction between universities and companies was not always productive, despite the high potential.

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