Quadrants of invention: Individual patent applications as unutilized resource of innovative capacity


Abstract

Objective: This paper emphasizes the importance of isolating individual invention from organizational inventors such as private companies or universities. It is an explorative study of the cross-county levels of individual patenting as an indicator of innovative capacity. Innovative capacity at the national level is linked to economic development. Thus, we investigate the relationship between different types of patent applications and GDP per capita in a sample of developed and developing economies.

Research Design & Methods: We screened 600,000 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications for three years (2013-2015) using a unique selection procedure able to separate different types of filings.

Findings: Countries with higher levels of individual patenting tend to have lower levels of economic development. Economic progress is driven by corporate or other forms of organizational inventors and their inventions have a better chance of transitioning into innovation. At the macro level, individual patenting vis-à-vis patents filed by organizations reflects unutilized innovative potential rather than innovative output.

Contribution & Value Added: For the first time we demonstrate that high levels of individual patenting are more characteristic of developing rather than developed economies. The percentage of individual patent applications is an important indicator of national innovative capacity.


Keywords

patent statistics; individual inventors; unaffiliated inventors; invention; innovation; entrepreneurship

Aitken, B., & Harrison, A. (1994). Do Domestic Firms Benefit from Foreign Direct Investment? Evidence from Panel Data. Policy Research Working Paper 1248, The World Bank Policy Research Department, Trade Policy Division.

Almeida, P., Hohberger, J., & Parada, P. (2011). Individual Scientific Collaborations and Firm-level Innovation. Industrial and Corporate Change, 20(6), 1571-1599.

Amesse, F., Desranleau, C., Etemad, H., Fortier, Y., & Seguin-Dulude, L. (1991). The Individual Inventor and the Role of Entrepreneurship: A Survey of the Canadian Evidence. Research Policy, 20, 13-27.

Bradford University School of Management (2009). Mapping Organizational Capabilities for Innovation and Competitiveness: Research Performance and Patenting in Small Open Economies. BUSM, Manchester Institute of Innovation and Research, Manchester Business School, and University College Cork, Department of Economics.

Braunerhjelm, P., & Svensson, R. (2010). The Inventor’s Role: Was Schumpeter Right? Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 20(3), 413-444.

Cantwell, J., & Janne, O. (1999). Technological Globalisation and Innovative Centres: The Role of Corporate Technological Leadership and Locational Hierarchy. Research Policy, 28(2/3), 119-144.

Cantwell, J., & Piscitello, L. (2005). Recent Location of Foreign-Owned Research and Development Activities by Large Multinational Corporations in the European Regions: The Role of Spillovers and Externalities. Regional Studies, 39(1), 1-16.

Castellacci, F. (2007). Technological Regimes and Sectoral Differences in Productivity Growth. Industrial Corporate Change, 16(6), 1105-163.

Comanor, W.S., & Scherer, F. (1969). Patent Statistics as a Measure of Technical Change. Journal of Political Economy, 77(3), 392-398.

Czarnitzki, D., Hussinger, K., & Schneider, C. (2011). Commercializing Academic Research: The Quality of Faculty Patenting. Industrial and Corporate Change, 20(5), 1403-1437.

Dahlin, K., Taylor, M.R., & Fichman, M. (2004). Today’s Edisons or Weekend Hobbyists: Technical Merit and Success of Inventions by Independent Inventors. Research Policy, 33, 1167-1183.

Dosi, G., Marsili, O., Orsenigo, L., & Salvatore, R. (1995). Learning, Market Selection and the Evolution of Industrial Structures. In G. Dosi (Ed.), Innovation, Organization and Economic Dynamics (pp. 433-458). Edward Elgar.

Dosi, G., & Nelson, R. (2013). The Evolution of Technologies: An Assessment of the State-of-the-art. Eurasian Business Review, 3(1), 3-46.

Ervits, I., & Zmuda, M. (2018). A Cross-country Comparison of the Effects of Institutions on Internationally Oriented Innovation. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 16, 486-503.

Fabrizio, K.R. (2007). University Patenting and the Pace of Industrial Innovation. Industrial and Corporate Change, 16(4), 505-534.

Fagerberg, J. (2013). Innovation – A New Guide. TIK Working Papers on Innovation Studies, No. 20131119, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture.

Fontana, R., Nuvolari, A., Shimizu, H., & Vezzulli, A. (2012). Schumpeterian Patterns of Innovation and the Sources of Breakthrough Inventions: Evidence from a Data-set of R&D Awards. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 22(4), 785-810.

Frank, M. (1998). Schumpeter on Entrepreneurs and Innovation: A Reappraisal. Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 20(4), 505-516.

Frost, T.S. (2001). The Geographic Sources of Foreign Subsidiaries’ Innovations. Strategic Management Journal, 22, 101-123.

Granstrand, O., & Alaenge, S. (1995). The Evolution of Corporate Entrepreneurship in Swedish Industry – Was Schumpeter Wrong? Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 5(2), 133-156.

Gianella, C., & Tompson, W. (2007). Stimulating Innovation in Russia: The role of Institutions and Policies. OECD Papers, 7(1), 1-47.

Griliches, Z. (1990). Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey. Journal of Economic Literature, 28(4), 1661-1707.

Griliches, Z., & Schmookler, J. (1963). Inventing and Maximizing. American Economic Review, 53(4), 725-29.

Hagedoorn, J. (1996). Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Schumpeter Revisited. Industrial and Corporate Change, 5(3), 883-896.

Jaffe, A.B., & Trajtenberg, M. (2002). Patents, Citations, and Innovations: A Window on the Knowledge Economy. MIT Press.

Jewkes, J., Sawers, D., & Stillerman, R. (1958). The Sources of Invention. Macmillan.

Khan, B.Z., & Sokoloff, K.L. (2004). Institutions and Democratic Invention in 19th-Century America: Evidence from “Great Inventors,” 1790-1930. American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, 94(2), 395-401.

Kim, P.H., Wennberg, K., & Croidieu, G. (2016). Untapped Riches of Meso-Level Applications in Multilevel Entrepreneurship Mechanisms. Academy of Management Perspectives, 30(3), 273-291.

King, J.L., Gurbaxani, V., Kraemer, K. L., McFarlan, F. W., Raman, K. S., & Yap, C. S. (1994). Institutional Factors in Information Technology Innovation. Information Systems Research, 5(2), 139-169.

Marsili, O., & Verspagen, B. (2002). Technology and the Dynamics of Industrial Structures: An Empirical Mapping of Dutch Manufacturing. Industrial and Corporate Change, 11(4), 791-815.

Malebra, F., & Orsenigo, L. (1995). Schumpeterian Patterns of Innovation. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 19(1), 47-65.

Malerba, F., & Orsenigo, L. (1997). Technological Regimes and Sectoral Patterns of Innovative Activities. Industrial Corporate and Change, 6(1), 83-117.

Mazzucato, M. (2015). From Market Fixing to Market-creating: A New Framework for Economic Policy. ISIGrowth Working Paper, 2.

Mazzucato, M. (2018). Mission-oriented Innovation Policies: Challenges and Opportunities. Industrial Corporate and Change, 27(5), 803-815.

Mowery, D.C., & Sampat, B. N. (2001). University Patents and Patent Policy Debates in the USA, 1925-1980. Industrial & Corporate Change, 10(3), 781-814.

Mueller, D.C. (1966). Patents, Research and Development, and the Measurement of Inventive Activity. Journal of Industrial Economics, 15(1), 26-37.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and Statistical Office of the European Communities (1996). Oslo manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data. OECD Publishing.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and Statistical Office of the European Communities (2005). Oslo manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data. 3rd Edition. OECD Publishing.

Pavitt, K., & Soete, L. (1980). Innovative Activities and export shares: Some comparisons between industries and countries. In K. Pavitt (Ed.), Technical Innovation and British Economic Performance (pp. 38-66). Macmillan.

Perri, A., Scalera, V.G., & Mudambi, R. (2017). What are the Most Promising Conduits for Foreign Knowledge Inflows? Innovation Networks in the Chinese Pharmaceutical Industry. Industrial & Corporate Change, 26(2), 333-355.

Pinchot, G. (1985). Intrapreneuring: Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur. Joanna Cotler Books.

Porter, M.E. (1998). Clusters and The New Economics of Competition, Harvard Business Review, 76(6), 77-90.

Romer, P. (1986). Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth. Journal of Political Economy, 94(5), 1002-1037.

Romer, P. (1990). Endogenous Technological Change. Journal of Political Economy, 98(5), 71-102.

Ruttan V.W. (1959). Usher and Schumpeter on Invention, Innovation, and Technological Change. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 73(4), 596-606.

Scherer, F M. (1965). Corporate Inventive Output, Profits, and Growth. Journal of Political Economy, 73(3), 290-297.

Scherer, F.M. (1992). Competing for Comparative Advantage through Technological Innovation. Business and the Contemporary World, Summer, 30-39.

Schmookler, J. (1966). Invention and Economic Growth. Harvard University Press.

Schmookler, J., & Brownlee, O. (1962). Determinants of Inventive Activity. American Economic Review, 52(2), 165-176.

Schumpeter, J. (1911). The Theory of Economic Development. Harvard University Press.

Schumpeter, J. (1939). Business Cycles. A Theoretical, Historical and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process. McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Schumpeter, J. (1942). Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Taylor & Francis e-Library.

Schumpeter, J. (1947). The Creative Response in Economic History. The Journal of Economic History, 7(2), 149-159.

Singh, J., & Fleming, L. (2010). Lone Inventors as Sources of Breakthroughs: Myth or Reality? Management Science, 56(1), 41-56.

Sood, J., & DuBois, F. (1995). The Use of Patent Statistics to Measure and Predict International Competitiveness. International Trade Journal, 9(3), 363-379.

Trajtenberg, M. (2002). Innovation in Israel 1968-1997: A Comprehensive Analysis Using Patent Data. In A. B. Jaffe and Trajtenberg, M. (Eds.) Patents, Citations, and Innovations: A Window on the Knowledge Economy 337-375. MIT Press.

Weick, C. W., & Eakin, C. F. (2005). Independent Inventors and Innovation: An Empirical Study. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 6(1), 5-15.

World Intellectual Property Organization (2015a). Protecting your Inventions Abroad: Frequently Asked Questions about the Patent Cooperation Treaty. WIPO. http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/faqs/faqs.html#note1. Accessed 15 April 2015.

World Intellectual Property Organization (2015b). The PCT Applicant’s Guide. WIPO. http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/appguide/. Accessed 15 April 2015.

World Intellectual Property Organization (2015c). Glossary, WIPO. http://www.wipo.int/ipstats/en/statistics/glossary.html. Accessed 15 April 2015.

World Intellectual Property Organization (2016). List of WIPO Standards. Handbook on Industrial Property Information and Documentation Standards – ST.3. WIPO. www.wipo.int/standards/en/pdf/03-03-01.pdf. Accessed 2 June 2016.

Zanfei, A. (2000). Transnational Firms and the Changing Organization of Innovative Activities. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 24, 515-542.

Zhu, Y., Wittmann, X., & Peng, M. (2012). Institution-based Barriers to Innovation in SMEs in China. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 29(4), 1131-1142.

Download

Published : 2020-03-30


ErvitsI. (2020). Quadrants of invention: Individual patent applications as unutilized resource of innovative capacity. International Entrepreneurship Review, 6(1), 7-27. https://doi.org/10.15678/IER.2020.0601.01

Irina Ervits  irina.aervitz@gmail.com
CBS Cologne Business School  Germany
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4729-9498

Irina Ervits currently works at the International Business Department at Cologne Business School. Her research interests are in the areas of Innovation Management, including work with patent statistics, Institutional Economics and International Economics with a focus on emerging markets. One of her recent publication is ‘Geography of Corporate Innovation: Internationalization of Innovative Activities by MNEs from Developed and Emerging Markets’.






Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

1. The author agrees to publish his article free of charge in the journal "International Entrepreneurship Review" (IER) in the language of the above publication (English). The editorial staff reserves the right to shorten texts and to change titles.

2. The journal allows the authors to keep their copyrights (the copyright) in accordance with the license: Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 from 2023 (since vol. 9, no 1). By the end of 2022 we published under Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0.

Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) only the final version of the article, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access). We advise to use any of the following research society portals:

- ResearchGate
- SSRN
- Academia.edu
- Selected Works
- Academic Search