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Mapping technological trajectories as patent citation networks. An application to data communication standards

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  • Roberto Fontana
  • Alessandro Nuvolari
  • Bart Verspagen

Abstract

We use patent citation networks to study the dynamics of technical change in Ethernet, a standard for data communication. We first consider the evolution of the broad technological system of local area networks (LANs) and we identify the most significant inventions within the specific subfield of Ethernet. Then we analyse the structure of connectivity of patent citation networks to reconstruct the main technological trajectories in this subfield. Our results suggest that these technological trajectories are characterized by the presence of a number of interconnected technological environments which cluster following an engineering logic. These clusters include the most significant patents related to 'milestones inventions' in the evolution of the LAN technology. Thus, our analysis of the structure of connectivity in patent citation networks seems appropriate to capture both the cumulativeness associated to the development of a specific technology and the significant discontinuities that punctuate the trajectory, as well as the technological interrelatedness characterising large technical systems.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Economics of Innovation and New Technology.

Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 311-336

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:18:y:2009:i:4:p:311-336

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Related research

Keywords: technical systems; technological trajectories; patents; network analysis; data communications;

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References

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  1. Roberto Fontana & Lionel Nesta, 2004. "Product entry in a fast growing industry: the LAN switch market," SPRU Working Paper Series 126, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  2. Mina, A. & Ramlogan, R. & Tampubolon, G. & Metcalfe, J.S., 2007. "Mapping evolutionary trajectories: Applications to the growth and transformation of medical knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 789-806, June.
  3. von Wartburg, Iwan & Teichert, Thorsten & Rost, Katja, 2005. "Inventive progress measured by multi-stage patent citation analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1591-1607, December.
  4. William Lehr, 1996. "Compatibility Standards And Industry Competition: Two Case Studies," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 97-112.
  5. Roberto Fontana, 1999. "Twinning Networks: Co-Evolution and Competition of System Component Technologies in the Local Area Network Industry," SPRU Working Paper Series 31, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  6. Antonelli, Cristiano, 1995. "Localized Technological Change in the Network of Networks: The Interaction between Regulation and the Evolution of Technology in Telecommunications," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 737-54.
  7. Thomas Grebel & Jackie Krafft & Pier-Paolo Saviotti, 2006. "On the Life Cycle of Knowledge Intensive Sectors," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 97(5), pages 63-85.
  8. David, Paul A. & Bunn, Julie Ann, 1988. "The economics of gateway technologies and network evolution: Lessons from electricity supply history," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 165-202.
  9. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Antonelli, Cristiano & Krafft, Jackie & Quatraro, Francesco, 2010. "Recombinant knowledge and growth: The case of ICTs," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 50-69, March.
  2. Nemet, Gregory F., 2012. "Inter-technology knowledge spillovers for energy technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1259-1270.
  3. Marianna EPICOCO (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113) & Vanessa OLTRA (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113) & Maïder SAINT JEAN (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113), 2012. "Mapping the scientific knowledge of the Green Chemistry community (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2012-10, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  4. Nemet, Gregory F. & Johnson, Evan, 2012. "Do important inventions benefit from knowledge originating in other technological domains?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 190-200.
  5. Marianna EPICOCO (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113 & DSLW, University of Milan), 2012. "Knowledge patterns and sources of leadership: mapping the semiconductor miniaturization trajectory," Cahiers du GREThA 2012-09, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  6. Magazzini Laura & Fabio Pammolli, 2013. "R&D, Within and Between Patent Competition in the Pharmaceutical Industry," Working Papers 3/2013, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Jul 2013.
  7. Rudi Bekkers & Arianna Martinelli, 2010. "The interplay between standardization and technological change: A study on wireless technologies, technological trajectories, and essential patent claims," Working Papers 10-08, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies, revised Sep 2010.
  8. Ramlogan, Ronnie & Consoli, Davide, 2008. "Knowledge, understanding and the dynamics of medical innovation," MPRA Paper 9112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Barberá-Tomás, David & Jiménez-Sáez, Fernando & Castelló-Molina, Itziar, 2011. "Mapping the importance of the real world: The validity of connectivity analysis of patent citations networks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 473-486, April.
  10. Bekkers, Rudi & Bongard, René & Nuvolari, Alessandro, 2011. "An empirical study on the determinants of essential patent claims in compatibility standards," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 1001-1015, September.
  11. Martinelli, Arianna, 2012. "An emerging paradigm or just another trajectory? Understanding the nature of technological changes using engineering heuristics in the telecommunications switching industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 414-429.
  12. Calvin Weng & Tugrul Daim, 2012. "Structural Differentiation and Its Implications—Core/Periphery Structure of the Technological Network," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 327-342, December.

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