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July 29, 2010

A major study of entrepreneurship among US academics suggests that the majority of spin-off businesses are not based on patentable knowledge.

According to the survey of more than 11,500 academics carried out by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in the US and the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano in Italy, of the 1,948 respondents who had started a business, only 682 exploited patents obtained through formal university intellectual property systems.

Nature magazine reported that the remaining 1,266 respondents who had started businesses had based them on non-patentable material.

The study adds that university technology-transfer offices in the US are "failing to help" a significant proportion of academic entrepreneurs.

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