IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

German employee inventors' compensation records: A window into the returns to patented inventions


  • Giummo, Jesse


This paper uses a novel data source, namely German employee inventors' compensation records compiled in compliance with the German Employee Invention Act of 1957 to estimate the returns to patented inventions. In contrast to patent value estimates obtained from surveys and renewals, these records primarily provide a measure of the value of the use of the invention and not the value of patent protection. While indicators of patent value explain much of the variation in these patent value estimates, the values are only weakly correlated with the estimated renewal value of the patents. The distribution of patent value from these records is highly skew, with the vast majority of the returns earned by a select set of high valued patents, consistent with finding for other measures of patent value. The value estimates however are considerably lower than recent survey estimates with most of the patents having little or no realized value, suggesting that the returns appropriated through the use of an invention may represent only a fraction of the value of a patented invention.

Suggested Citation

  • Giummo, Jesse, 2010. "German employee inventors' compensation records: A window into the returns to patented inventions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 969-984, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:39:y:2010:i:7:p:969-984

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
    2. Marc Baudry & Béatrice Dumont, 2006. "Patent Renewals as Options: Improving the Mechanism for Weeding Out Lousy Patents," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 28(1), pages 41-62, February.
    3. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Jeff S. Armstrong, 2003. "Commercializing knowledge: university science, knowledge capture and firm performance in biotechnology," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 149-170.
    4. Bronwyn H. Hall & Grid Thoma & Salvatore Torrisi, 2006. "The market value of patents and R&D: Evidence from European firms," KITeS Working Papers 186, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Nov 2006.
    5. Arora, Ashish & Ceccagnoli, Marco & Cohen, Wesley M., 2008. "R&D and the patent premium," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1153-1179, September.
    6. Myriam Mariani & Marzia Romanelli, 2006. ""Stacking" or "Picking" Patents? The Inventors' Choice Between Quantity and Quality," LEM Papers Series 2006/06, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    7. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Tom Lee & Louis L. Wilde, 1980. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Reformulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 429-436.
    10. Lanjouw, Jean O & Pakes, Ariel & Putnam, Jonathan, 1998. "How to Count Patents and Value Intellectual Property: The Uses of Patent Renewal and Application Data," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 405-432, December.
    11. Pakes, Ariel S, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 755-784, July.
    12. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Harhoff, Dietmar & Reitzig, Markus, 2004. "Determinants of opposition against EPO patent grants--the case of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 443-480, April.
    14. Glenn C. Loury, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410.
    15. Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 1999. "The Quality of Ideas: Measuring Innovation with Multiple Indicators," NBER Working Papers 7345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Bessen, James, 2008. "The value of U.S. patents by owner and patent characteristics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 932-945, June.
    17. Narin, Francis & Breitzman, Anthony, 1995. "Inventive productivity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 507-519, July.
    18. Nancy T. Gallini & Brian D. Wright, 1990. "Technology Transfer under Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 147-160, Spring.
    19. Tong, Xuesong & Frame, J. Davidson, 1994. "Measuring national technological performance with patent claims data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 133-141, March.
    20. Giuri, Paola & Mariani, Myriam & Brusoni, Stefano & Crespi, Gustavo & Francoz, Dominique & Gambardella, Alfonso & Garcia-Fontes, Walter & Geuna, Aldo & Gonzales, Raul & Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin, 2007. "Inventors and invention processes in Europe: Results from the PatVal-EU survey," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1107-1127, October.
    21. Bousquet, Alain & Cremer, Helmuth & Ivaldi, Marc & Wolkowicz, Michel, 1998. "Risk sharing in licensing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 535-554, September.
    22. Bessen, James, 2009. "Estimates of patent rents from firm market value," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1604-1616, December.
    23. Gambardella, Alfonso & Harhoff, Dietmar & Verspagen, Bart, 2008. "The Value of European Patents," CEPR Discussion Papers 6848, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Oliver Baumann & Nils Stieglitz, 2011. "Motivating Organizational Search," DRUID Working Papers 11-08, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    2. Cheng-Feng Cheng, 2012. "Evaluate the Effectiveness of Manager Compensation," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 11(1), pages 25-44, June.
    3. Giummo, Jesse, 2014. "An examination of the intertemporal returns of patented inventions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1312-1319.
    4. repec:jso:coejbm:v:1:y:2013:i:1:p:28-49 is not listed on IDEAS


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:39:y:2010:i:7:p:969-984. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.