, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 715–737 | Cite as

Internationalization and evolution of application areas of an emerging technology: The case of nanotechnology

  • Poh Kam Wong
  • Yuen Ping Ho
  • Casey K. Chan


Nanotechnology patenting has grown rapidly in recent years as an increasing number of countries are getting into the global nanotechnology race. Using a refined methodology to identify and classify nanotechnology patents, this paper analyses the changing pattern of internationalization of nanotechnology patenting activities from 1976–2004. We show that the dominance of the G5 countries have declined in recent years, not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of quality as measured by citation indicators. In addition, using a new approach to classifying the intended areas of commercial applications, we show that nanotechnology patenting initially emphasized instrumentation, but exhibited greater diversification to other application areas in recent years. Significant differences in application area specialization are also found among major nanotechnology nations. Moreover, universities are found to play a significant and increasing role in patenting, particularly in US, UK and Canada.


Application Area Patent Citation Institutional Ownership Revealed Comparative Advantage Nanotechnology Patent 
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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of SingaporeSingapore

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