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Collective Knowledge, Prolific Inventors And The Value Of Inventions: An Empirical Study Of French, German And British Patents In The Us, 1975-1999

  • Claudine Gay
  • William Latham
  • Christian Le Bas

The objective of this paper is to test two related hypotheses: The first is that the involvement of both prolific and foreign inventors in the production of knowledge has a direct, positive impact on the collective dimension of this knowledge production as measured by the size of the inventive team. The second is that the involvement of both prolific and foreign inventors has a direct, positive impact on the value of the new knowledge produced. We use detailed information from nearly 300,000 patents granted by the US Patent Office to French, German, and British inventors over the period from 1975 to 1999. From the data available from each patent regarding citations of prior patents and the numbers and identities of the inventors listed in the patent application, we are able to construct measures of collective knowledge, the presence of prolific and foreign inventors, and the imputed value of patents. In a novel approach in this literature, we estimate negative binomial multiple regression models for determining both the size of the collective dimension and the value of the patents. After controlling for the effects of years, technological fields, and patenting country, we find a strong support for the hypothesis that both prolific and foreign inventors tend to be parts of larger teams of inventors and for the hypothesis that prolific and foreign inventors tend to produce inventions having more value. In the conclusion, we draw some implications from these results for knowledge governance.

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

Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1-2 ()
Pages: 5-22

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:17:y:2008:i:1-2:p:5-22
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