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Categorical coherence, classification volatility and examiner-added citations

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  • Tan, David
  • Roberts, Peter W.
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    Abstract

    Patent applicants and examiners do not always have the same views about what constitutes a patent's relevant prior art. We propose that the processes of categorization and classification variably shape the interface between applicants and examiners by influencing assessments of similarity between new and existing technologies. Some inventions sit in technological domains that cut across the categorical boundaries implied by examiners' patterns of specialization. Some sit in domains wherein the classification system that guides examiner searches is more volatile. In either of these circumstances, heightened ambiguity leads to more examiner-added citations on patents that are granted. We test and confirm our predictions in a sample of patents granted to semiconductor firms in 2005.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 89-102

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:39:y:2010:i:1:p:89-102

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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    Keywords: Categorization Classification Patenting Innovation;

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    1. Ronald Burt & Patrick Doreian, 1982. "Testing a structural model of perception: Conformity and deviance with respect to Journal norms in elite sociological methodology," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 109-150, April.
    2. Juan Alcácer & Michelle Gittelman, 2006. "Patent Citations as a Measure of Knowledge Flows: The Influence of Examiner Citations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 774-779, November.
    3. Lee Fleming, 2001. "Recombinant Uncertainty in Technological Search," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 117-132, January.
    4. Choi, J.P., 1997. "Patent Litigation as an Information Transmission Mechanism," Discussion Paper 1997-17, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. Alcácer, Juan & Gittelman, Michelle & Sampat, Bhaven, 2009. "Applicant and examiner citations in U.S. patents: An overview and analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 415-427, March.
    6. Dosi, Giovanni, 1982. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 147-162, June.
    7. Burke, Paul F. & Reitzig, Markus, 2007. "Measuring patent assessment quality--Analyzing the degree and kind of (in)consistency in patent offices' decision making," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1404-1430, November.
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