Patents and the Measurement of International Competitiveness
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Patents and the Measurement of International Competitiveness

New Data on the Use of Patents by Universities, Small Firms and Individual Inventors

William Kingston and Kevin Scally

This highly original book represents a major advance in the use of patents to compare countries’ technological competitiveness. It tabulates and analyses 280,000 United States patents from countries across the world over a ten year period. Specifically, these patents were granted to ‘not-for-profit’ entities (mainly universities and research institutes), firms with no more than 500 employees, or to individual inventors. For each of these groups, the book provides statistics and discussion on how long patents are kept in force, the extent to which they are cited, and how far inventions made in different countries are in fact owned in the United States.
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Chapter 2: OECD Small Entity Patents

William Kingston and Kevin Scally


2. OECD* Small Entity patents This chapter provides an overview of the full database of OECD* Small Entity patents from 1994 to 2003. Later chapters will examine the three subdivisions of Nonprofits, Small Firms and Individuals. The basis for all the analysis that follows is the assessment of value. Inventors and firms, seeking to protect their new ideas, are generally faced with a decision on whether to file first for a patent under their domestic patent regime – in their ‘home’ country – or in some external jurisdiction. This decision will be influenced by the inventor’s view of the market potential of the invention: the broader the potential market, the broader the scope of the protection required. Inventors who see that their invention is ‘local’ in nature, and will be limited to a particular geographic area in its future applications, will have an easy decision to make. An advantage of filing locally is that it is usually a less expensive and more convenient option than going directly to a larger or foreign jurisdiction. In any case, where the inventor’s country of residence is a signatory to the Paris Convention of 1883, the invention is protected in all other signatory countries for a period of one year.1 Therefore, even where inventors have such faith in the global marketability of their inventions that they have every intention of seeking the widest possible international patent protection, it would make sense for them to apply for a local patent first. They then have a...

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