The relationship between a university and its technology transfer office: the case of NTNU in Norway26 jan 2011
This article asks how the relationship between a university’s central administration and its technology transfer office (TTO) affects the way the TTO operates. The case is the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, which set up a TTO after legislative changes in Norway in 2003 that moved the intellectual property rights from the individual inventors to the higher education institutions. Principal-agent theory is used to guide the analysis, which shows that many of the challenges and problems that the TTO has encountered, may be due to how the unit was set up by the university rather than specific actions and decisions in the TTO. Unrealistic expectations and lack of a university IPR policy has probably created some problems that could have been avoided. However, the legislative changes themselves have been difficult to handle at a university where the old IPR regime was perceived as flexible and motivating.