Research Paper 18, December 2008

Patent Counts as Indicators of the Geography of Innovation Activities: Problem and Perspectives.

This Research Paper challenges the conceptual basis of patent counts being relied upon as indicators of innovation for assessing cross-country performance and for the purposes of understanding the geography of innovation in a particular location.

It has been argued that the WIPO Patent Report’s conclusion on changing the geography of innovation based on a sharp rise in the numbers of patents filed in north-east Asia, with an emphasis on China, should be interpreted with caution. The drawback of such an international comparison not only relates to how properly to interpret the figures on patent filings and the “resident patent filings”, but also to high heterogeneity in the value of patents.

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