Domestic patents and developing countries: arguments for their study and data from Brazil (1980-1995)
This paper presents data from Brazilian Patent Office (Instituto Nacional de Propriedade Industrial, INPI) and compares them with data from the United States Patent Office (USPTO). Developing countries have technological activities that are important locally but not significant at international level (imitation, local learning, adaptation of foreign innovations). These activities might be patentable only at national level. Therefore, the study of domestic patents of developing countries provides a broader picture than USPTO patents. This paper compares 8,316 INPI patents with 475 USPTO patents (between 1980-1995). Domestic patent data show peculiarities in the Brazilian case, possibly shared with other countries in similar technological level: a) high share of individual patents; b) foreign-owned firms with important activities; c) low firm involvement in R&D activities. Some characteristics are shared with developed countries: a) domestic firms as the major patentees; b) according to firm size, there is a U-shaped distribution of patents; c) evidences of multi-technology large firms; d) a relatively small share of firms have more than one patent in the whole period. Putting together USPTO and national patenting shows different rankings according to ownership structure, leading firms, industrial sectors, and international patent classification. These differences highlight sources of international competitiveness and point to weaknesses in Brazilian innovative activities. This paper concludes evaluating the contributions (and weaknesses) of this database for the evaluation of the Brazilian National System of Innovation.
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