Understanding innovative firms: an exploration of the use of USPTO data to identify innovative firms in small and medium sized economies

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    Although patent data have severe limitations as a measure of technological innovation (Griliches, 1990), patent data are frequently used for this purpose, providing potentially misleading analyses for policy makers. Kingston and Scally (2006) have shown that, for countries outside the NAFTA region, USPTO small enterprise patent data can provide useful insights into innovative activity in small and medium sized economies. This exploratory analysis investigates whether the Kingston/Scally analysis can be extended from inventors to assignee firms and considers the challenges of making this conversion. It also explores whether such a data series can be used to develop a typology of innovating firms which can be of interest for research and policy analysis purposes. Australian inventor granted patent data from the USPTO BIB series from 1969 to 2010 is used to explore these issues. The focus is on patents assigned to firms. Converting these data to a set based on the residence of the firm owning the patent is tedious but not difficult. Nonetheless given the importance for policy purposes of focusing on innovative firms, it would be very useful if the USPTO were to include the assignee residence in the BIB dataset. More challenging, of course, is trying to ensure identification of all patents owned by any one firm. Typographical errors, keying errors and name changes make this a particularly tedious issue. It would be helpful if patent offices were to require (and use) a firms company number as the principle identifier for data on a patent. In addition there are problems arising from changes in firm ownership and how these should be treated. Three principal groupings of firms stand out those which patent only once (the large majority); Silverbrook, with a portfolio of thousands of US patents; and some 400 firms with at least several US patents granted since 1995. A discussion of those firms with significant US patent holdings shows a variety of types of innovation leadership
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFine-Tuning IPR Debates
    Place of PublicationBrussels
    PublisherEuropean Policy for Intellectual Property
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    Event6th Annual Conference of the EPIP Association - Brussels Belgium
    Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …


    Conference6th Annual Conference of the EPIP Association
    Period1/01/11 → …
    OtherSeptember 8-9 2011


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