Many US academic researchers patent discoveries even before they publish them, contributing to $1.26 billion (US) in new product licenses in 2001. Now some European institutions want to catch up, but century-old traditions slow their pace. "A lot of the research at universities and institutions is focused on publication and the scientists are not focused on patents and commercializing their research results," says Mattheas Konrad, biotechnology manager of Bayern-Innovativ, a technology transfer company established by the Bavarian government and private industry to foster technology in that region. "This situation is changing, but it is a slow, slow process."

Because Europe trails the United States by 10 to 15 years, universities and institutes forgo hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues from licensing and company startups that could pay for additional research and reward innovation. "In many places in Europe, technology transfer has been left to the individual scientist and academic...

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