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

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



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 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adelman, D. E., DeAngelis, K. L. (2007), Patent metrics: The mismeasure of innovation in the biotech patent debate, Texas Law Review, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  2. Arnall, A., Parr, D. (2005), Moving the nanoscience and technology debate forwards: short-term impacts, long-term uncertainty and the social constitution, Technology in Society, 27: 23–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bawa, R. (2004). Nanotechnology patenting in the US, Nanotechnology Law and Business, 1: 31–50.Google Scholar
  4. Braun, T., Schubert, A., Zsindely, S. (1997), Nanoscience and nanotechnology on the balance, Scientometrics, 38(2): 321–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Compano, R., Hullman, A. (2002), Forecasting the development of nanotechnology with the help of science and technology indicators, Nanotechnology, 13(3): 243–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Darby, M. R., Zucker, L. G. (2003), Grilichesian breakthroughs: Inventions of methods of inventing and firm entry in nanotechnology, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 9825.Google Scholar
  7. Darby, M. R., Zucker, L. G. (2004), Formation and transformation of industries: Nanotechnology, chapter 2 in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: Opportunities and Challenges in California, Sacramento, CA: California Council on Science and Technology. Downloaded from Google Scholar
  8. Grupp, H. (1994), The measurement of technical performance of innovations by technometrics and its impact on established technology indicators, Research Policy, 23: 175–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Holister, P. (2002), Nanotech: the tiny revolution. CMP Cientifica.Google Scholar
  10. Huang, Z., Chen, H., Chen, Z. K., Roco, M. C. (2004), International nanotechnology development in 2003: Country, institution and technology field analysis based on USPTO patent database, Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 6: 325–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Huang, Z., Chen, H., Yip, A., Ng, G., Guo, F., Chen, Z. K., Roco, M. C. (2003), Longitudinal patent analysis for nanoscale science and engineering: Country, institution and technology field, Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 5: 333–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hullman, A., Meyer, M. (2003), Publications and patents in nanotechnology: An overview of previous studies and the state of the art, Scientometrics, 58(3): 507–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lee, L. L., Chan, C. K., Ngaim, M., Ramakrishna, S. (2006), Nanotechnology patent landscape 2006, Nano, 1(2): 101–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lemley, M. A. (2005). Patenting nanotechnology, Stanford Law Review, 61: 601–630.Google Scholar
  15. Marinova, D., McAleer, M. (2003) Nanotechnology strength indicators: International rankings based on US patents. Nanotechnology, 14: R1–R7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Meyer, M. (2000), Patent citations in a novel field of technology: What can they tell about interactions of emerging communities of science and technology? Scientometrics, 48: 151–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Meyer, M. (2001), Patent citation analysis in a novel field of technology: An exploration of nano-science and nano-technology. Scientometrics, 51: 163–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Meyer, M., Persson, O. (1998), Nanotechnology: Interdisciplinarity, patterns of collaboration and differences in application, Scientometrics, 42: 195–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Miller, J. C., Serrato, R., Represas-Cardenas, J. M., Kundahl, G. (2005), The Handbook Of Nanotechnology: Business, Policy, And Intellectual Property Law 224, John Wiley: New York.Google Scholar
  20. Rosenberg, N. (1992) Scientific instrumentation and university research, Research Policy, 21: 381–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sampat, B. N., (2004) Examining Patent Examination: An Analysis of Examiner and Applicant Generated Prior Art, Haas Business School Working Paper, downloaded from
  22. Schummer, J. (2004). Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and patterns of research collaboration in nanoscience and nanotechnology, Scientometrics, 59(3): 425–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Trajtenberg, M., Jaffe, A., Henderson, R (1997). University versus corporate patents: A window on the basicness of invention, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 5(1): 19–50.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of SingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations