The positive effect of public research on industrial innovations is beyond controversy: public research institutions produce knowledge that is subsequently transferred into product and process innovations by private businesses. Besides this rather passive role in commercializing inventions, public research institutions may also proactively exploit new knowledge through public sector entrepreneurship activities. Especially entrepreneurial universities are perceived as a conduit of knowledge spillovers, as they serve as central actors of innovation networks and stimulate network activities. Whereas the linkages between network embeddedness and innovation activities have been largely explored, the impact on patent quality in terms of radicalness, originality and generality remains rather unclear. Considering Germany's diverse public research infrastructure (universities, polytechnics, and non-university research institutes), our findings reveal that the type of institution and the corresponding scientific orientation (basic vs. applied research) matter for the quality of inventions. Centrality of respective institutions within innovation networks thereby reinforces the radicalness of inventions. However, we do not find support for the general assumption that an entrepreneurial orientation of public sector entities augments the quality of inventions. We conclude the paper with policy recommendations as well as with future avenues of research.
patent quality radical innovation entrepreneurial university network embeddedness centrality