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Accounting for the recent surge in U.S. patenting: changes in R&D expenditures, patent yields, and the high tech sector

  • Jinyoung Kim
  • Gerald Marschke

We decompose the recent patent increase into components representing (1) an increase in resources made available to research and development, (2) an across-the-board rise in the patent yield of an R&D dollar, and (3) changes in the patent yield in individual industries. Two high tech fields, computer hardware and pharmaceuticals, account for 22 percent of the patent increase. While these two industries had the fastest R&D growth among the industries we study, the pharmaceutical industry experienced a decline in its patent yield, limiting its patent growth. We show that increased R&D spending accounts for 70 percent of the patent increase. We discuss our results in the context of alternative hypotheses of the patent surge. We also compare our results to the anecdotal evidence of firm R&D performance at the industry level.

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

Volume (Year): 13 (2004)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 543-558

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:13:y:2004:i:6:p:543-558
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  1. Bronwyn Hall & Adam Jaffe and Manuel Trajenberg, 2000. "Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look," Economics Series Working Papers 2000-W17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Jaffe, Adam B., 2000. "The U.S. patent system in transition: policy innovation and the innovation process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 531-557, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Hall, Bronwyn H & Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," CEPR Discussion Papers 3094, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
  6. Lanjouw, Jean O & Lerner, Josh, 2001. "Tilting the Table? The Use of Preliminary Injunctions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 573-603, October.
  7. Bronwyn H. Hall & Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Patents and R&D: Is There A Lag?," NBER Working Papers 1454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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