Advertisement

Knowledge Networks from Patent Data

Methodological Issues and Research Targets
  • Stefano Breschi
  • Francesco Lissoni

Abstract

The economic literature on technical change has increasingly relied upon patent citation data to measure inter-personal knowledge flows. Many doubts exist about whether patent citations really reflect the designated inventors’ knowledge of both their technical fields, and of the other inventors and experts therein: citations, in fact, come mainly from the patent examiners, and possibly the patent applicant’s lawyers, rather than from inventors themselves. Unfortunately, most of the papers dedicated to discussing these interpretation issues deal with USPTO data, whose citation rules are quite exceptional if compared to those of other patent offices. In addition some confusion exists between the two issues of awareness (whether citing inventors actually knew of the cited patents) and existence of a knowledge flow (whether some information on the contents of the cited patents has however reached the, possibly unaware, citing inventor). Questionnaires addressed to inventors are severely affected by this confusion, and can hardly dispel the existing doubts. We then propose to apply social network analysis to derive maps of social relationships between inventors, and measures of social proximity between cited and citing patents. Logit regressions demonstrate that the probability of observing a citation is positively influenced by such proximity. In order to perform such regressions, however, a specific sampling scheme has to used, which we also illustrate and discuss.

Keywords

Social Distance Knowledge Spillover Knowledge Network Patent Citation Knowledge Flow 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Agrawal, A.K., Cockburn I.M., McHale J. (2003). Gone but not forgotten: labor flows, knowledge spillovers, and enduring social capital. NBER Working Paper 9950.Google Scholar
  2. Akers, N. (1999). The European Patent System: an introduction for patent searchers, World Patent Information, 21, 135–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akers, N. (2000). The referencing of prior art documents in European patents and applications, World Patent Information, 22, 309–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Almeida, P., Kogut, B. (1999). The localization of knowledge and the mobility of engineers in regional networks. Management Science, 45, 905–917.Google Scholar
  5. Balconi, M., Breschi, S., Lissoni, F. (2004). Networks of inventors and the role of academia: an exploration of Italian patent data. Research Policy (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  6. Breschi, S., Lissoni, F. (2001a). Knowledge spillovers and local innovation systems: A critical survey. Industrial and Corporate Change 10 (4), 975–1005.Google Scholar
  7. Breschi, S., Lissoni, F. (2001b). Localised knowledge spillovers vs. innovative Milieux: knowledge tacitness” reconsidered. Papers in regional science 80 (3), 2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Breschi, S., Lissoni, F., Malerba F. (2003). STI-NET patent and patent citations database. Methodology and preliminary analyses. Mimeo.Google Scholar
  9. Constant, E.W. (1984). Communities and hierarchies: Structure in the practice of science and technology. In R. Laudan (Ed.), The nature of technological knowledge. Dordrecht: D. Reindel Publishing, S. 27–46.Google Scholar
  10. Cowan, R., David, P.A., Foray, D. (2000). The explicit economics of knowledge codification and tacitness. Industrial and Corporate Change 9, 211–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Griliches, Z. (1990). Patent statistics as economic indicators: A survey. Journal of Economic Literature, 28, 1661–1707.Google Scholar
  12. Hall, B.H., Jaffe, A., Trajtenberg, M. (2000). Market value and patent citations: A first look. NBER Working Paper 7441.Google Scholar
  13. Hall, B.H., Jaffe, A., Trajtenberg, M (2001). The NBER patent citations data file: lessons, insights and methodological tools. NBER Working Paper 8498. Republished in: Jaffe and Trajtenberg (2002).Google Scholar
  14. Jaffe, A.B., Trajtenberg, M. (2002). Patents, citations, and innovations: A window on the knowledge economy. MIT Press.Google Scholar
  15. Jaffe, A.B., Trajtenberg, M., Fogarty, M.S. (2000a). The meaning of patent citations: Report on the NBER/Case-Western reserve survey of patentees. NBER Working Paper 7631.Google Scholar
  16. Jaffe, A.B., Trajtenberg, M., Fogarty, M.S. (2000b). Knowledge spillovers and patent citations: Evidence form a survey of inventors. American Economic Review, 90 (2), 215–218.Google Scholar
  17. Jaffe, A.B., Trajtenberg, M., Henderson, R. (1993). Geographic localisation of knowledge spillovers as evidenced by patent citations. Quarterly Journal of Economics 108, 577–598.Google Scholar
  18. Karki, M.M.S. (1997). Patent citation analysis: A policy analysis tool. World Patent Information, 19, 269–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. King, G., Zeng, L. (2001). Explaining rare events in international relations. International Organization, 55 (3), 693–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kortum, S., Lerner, J. (1998). Stronger protection or technological revolution: what is behind the recent surge in patenting? Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, 48, 247–304.Google Scholar
  21. Laboranti, A. (2004). Il contributo delľUniversità di Pavia alle innovazioni tecnologiche, Degree dissertation, Università degli studi di Pavia, Faculty of Engineering.Google Scholar
  22. Merton, R.K. (1961). Singletons and multiples in scientific discovery. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 105, 470–486.Google Scholar
  23. Merton, R.K. (1977). The sociology of science: An episodic memoir. Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Merton, R.K. (1988). The Matthew effect in science, II: Cumulative advantage and the symbolism of intellectual property. ISIS, 79, 606–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Michel J., Bettels B. (2001). Patent citation analysis: A closer look at the basic input data from patent search reports. Scientometrics 51, 185–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Møen, J. (2000). Is mobility of technical personnel a source of R&D spillovers? NBER Working Paper 7834.Google Scholar
  27. Murray, F. (2002). Innovation as co-evolution of scientific and technological networks: exploring tissue engineering. Research Policy 31, 1389–1403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Newman, M.E.J. (2000). Who is the best connected scientists? A study of scientific co-authorship networks. SFI Working Paper 00-12-64, Santa Fe.Google Scholar
  29. Newman, M.E.J. (2001). The structure of scientific collaboration networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 98, 404–409.Google Scholar
  30. Ogburn, W.F., Thomas, D. (1922). Are inventions inevitable? A note on social evolution. Political Science Quartly 3, 83–98.Google Scholar
  31. Pilkington, A., Dyerson, R., Tissier, O. (2002). The electric vehicle: patent data as indicators of technological development. World Patent Information 24, 5–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sampat, B.N., Ziedonis, A. (2002). Cite-Seeing: patent citations and economic value of patents. Mimeo, http://www.vannevar.gatech.edu/paper.htm
  33. Sforzi, F. (1997). I sistemi locali del lavoro in Italia. 1991, Istat, Argomenti n. 10, Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Roma.Google Scholar
  34. Singh, J. (2003). Inventor mobility and social networks as drivers of knowledge diffusion. Mimeo, Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
  35. Sirilli, G. (1987). Patents and inventors: An empirical study. Research Policy 16, 157–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Song, J., Almeida, P., Wu, G. (2003). Learning-by-hiring: when is mobility more likely to facilitate knowledge transfer? Management Science 49, 351–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sorenson, O. (2003). Social networks, informational complexity and industry concentration. Mimeo, UCLA.Google Scholar
  38. Sorenson, O., Fleming, L. (2001). Science and the diffusion of knowledge. Mimeo, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  39. Stolpe, M. (2002). Determinants of knowledge diffusion as evidenced in patent debates: the case of Liquid Crystal Display technology. Research Policy 31, 1181–1198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Thompson, P. (2003). Patent citations and the geography of knowledge spillovers: what do patent examiners know? Mimeo, Carnegie Mellon University.Google Scholar
  41. Thompson, P., Fox-Kean, M. (2003). Patent citations and the geography of knowledge spillovers: A reassessment. Mimeo, Carnegie Mellon University. Valente, T. (1990).Google Scholar
  42. Wasserman, S., Faust, C. (1994). Social network analysis: methods and applications. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Watts, D.J. (2003). Six degrees: the science of a connected age. W.W. Norton & CompanyGoogle Scholar
  44. Zucker, L.G., Darby, M.R., Armstrong, J. (1998). Geographically localized knowledge: Spillovers or markets? Economic Inquiry 36, 65–86.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefano Breschi
    • 1
  • Francesco Lissoni
    • 2
  1. 1.Cespri, Dept. of EconomicsUniversità “L. Bocconi”MilanItaly
  2. 2.Dept. of Mechanical EngineeringUniversità di BresciaBresciaItaly

Personalised recommendations