University-SME Collaboration and Open Innovation: Intellectual-Property Management Tools and the Roles of Intermediaries

  • Deschamps I
  • G. Macedo M
  • Eve-Levesque C
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In 2009, the Conseil de la science et de la technologie du Québec (CST) made 13 recommend- ations to the Government of Quebec in order to shift innovative actors towards open-innov- ation practices adapted to the province's context: diversified economic sectors, a majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), public universities, etc. Among these re- commendations are: i) to set up flexible mechanisms to promote research collaboration between public-private sectors such as universities and SMEs, and ii) to optimize interme- diation bodies’ contribution to establish open-innovation practices. Furthermore, the lack of adequate understanding and tools for the management of intellectual property (IP) was identified as a major inhibitor of open-innovation practices, to which actors should pay specific attention. In this article, we present results and recommendations from a field study focused on two groups of actors: i) companies involved in collaborative innovation and ii) intermediary agents enabling innovation and technology transfer. Our first goal was to shed some light on factors that facilitate open innovation through improved university- enterprise collaborations and, more importantly, that attempt to overcome the irritants re- lated to IP management. Our second goal was to analyze the roles of diverse intermediaries in the fostering of successful collaborations between universities and SMEs. Our study yielded three findings: i) SMEs do not care about understanding and improving their capabilities about IP and are not equipped with adequate tools and best practices for managing IP and for managing the overall collaborative mechanisms in general; ii) this gap in preparation for open innovation is persistent, since even the intermediaries, whose role is to guide SMEs in university-enterprise collaborations, suffer themselves from the lack of appropriate IP transfer and sharing tools, and do not perceive the need to offer better sup- port in this regard; and iii) overall, current IP-transfer and collaboration-management tools are not sophisticated enough to provide appropriate support for the implementation of open innovation, by which we mean more open and collaborative innovation in the context of university-enterprise collaborations.




Deschamps, I., G. Macedo, M., & Eve-Levesque, C. (2018). University-SME Collaboration and Open Innovation: Intellectual-Property Management Tools and the Roles of Intermediaries. Technology Innovation Management Review, 3(3), 33–41.

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