Technology transfer contracts between R&D labs and commercial partners: Choose your words wisely

Richard M. Franza, Kevin P. Grant, W. Austin Spivey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Our study is motivated by the problems encountered by external collaborators, particularly those between research and development laboratories and commercial partners, when writing technology transfer contracts. Kruskal-Wallis one-way nonparametric Analyses of Variance are used to analyze Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) from a national, Department of Defense laboratory in the United States of America. The CRADA information elements serve as the independent variables for the study. Benefits accrued by the laboratory serve as the dependent variable. The results highlight the link between information asymmetry and technology transfer and the connection between benefits obtained and contract specificity. Quantifying royalty streams in the CRADA increases the likelihood of achieving of these royalty payments. Too much contract detail may boomerang: limiting laboratory image enhancement, harming employee morale, and impeding efficient and effective laboratory management. Always, technology transfer involves a bargain: a contract where tacit knowledge must be nurtured and the amount of specificity managed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-587
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Contracts
  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs)
  • Department of Defense
  • Federal laboratories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Accounting
  • Engineering(all)


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