The US patent system is premised on a fundamental exchange, or as some might say, a grand bargain. In exchange for fully disclosing their invention to the public, the inventor gains the exclusionary right to that invention for a limited period.
Companies often have a problem that can be uniquely solved by a university partnership. They will invest in external research to achieve an innovative solution for a new product or process that has great commercialization or market potential. But why would an academic want to be involved with addressing current business challenges?