The article explores how the US and Dutch governments have attempted to bolster research commercialization in their respective research systems and discusses the institutionalization of linkages between universities and industrial firms. First, the article shows how the institutional framework conditions compare in national systems of innovation (NIS) in the Netherlands and the USA with a special focus on regulatory and funding policy instruments. Second, it examines the influence of institutional framework conditions on the linkages that exist between universities and industrial firms in the two countries. Third, the article investigates how the institutionalization of university-firm linkages compare in the two countries. The findings suggest that path dependencies partly shape the process of research commercialization in terms of the timing and the types of policy instruments forming the institutional framework conditions in the two countries. The creation of university-industrial firm linkages is a challenge for governments irrespective of the type of NIS in question partly due to organizational inertia and informal institutions.