Predicting commercial success for Australian medical inventions patented in the United States: a cross sectional survey of Australian inventors.
ABSTRACT To examine the commercial development of Australian medical patents and identify the determinants of their being used in innovations (new or improved products or production processes).
Cross-sectional survey with a nested case-control study.
177 inventors listed as the first Australian on medical patents granted in the United States between 1 January 1984 and 30 December 1994, and surveyed in 1998-1999.
A series of predictor variables (including characteristics of the patents; characteristics of the inventors; ideas, advice and funding during commercialisation; and the process of commercialisation) for whether or not a patent became an innovation.
Half (89/177) of the medical patents became innovations, with 34% generating a total of A $287 million (13% over $1 million) in annual sales a median of 8 years after the patent had been granted. A patent was more likely to become an innovation if the inventor was employed by industry at the time of invention (odds ratio [OR], 3.2; 95% CI, 1.1-9.2), had invested their own finances (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.0-7.4), and if the patent had been licensed (OR, 4.6; 95% CI 1.7-12.7), led to further patents (OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.0-10.4) and involved an industry partner in its commercial development (OR, 10.1; 95% CI, 3.6-27.7). It was less likely to become an innovation if finance came from a research funding agency (OR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.1-0.8) and if interest from Australian industry was judged by inventors as "poor" (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-0.9).
Medical patents in the US listing Australian inventors are more likely to become innovations if they originate from industry rather than the public sector, and if inventors are willing to invest their own finances.