Cottrell on Patents

Frederick Cottrell really launched the American faculty approach to “technology transfer” based on patents.  He developed the idea of a non-profit agent representing faculty and university interests.  He published an account of this thinking in 1912 in the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry.   Here is a link to Cottrell’s article, “The Research Corporation, an Experiment in Public Administration of Patent Rights.”

An article that tells the story from Research Corporation’s perspective, looking back, is here.  A quote worth considering:

Dr. Cottrell always shrugged off the praise that came to him because he passed up the chance of a fortune in order to help other scientists. “For me it was the only sensible choice,” he told me. “I decided that I didn’t want to be a businessman. I have seen scientists leave their laboratories for business ventures, and they never come back. Too many men neglect their real interests to pursue a fortune. I belonged in a laboratory, and I was determined to stay there.”