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Reaping the Benefits of Patenting Activities: Does the Size of Patentees Matter?


  • Francesco Schettino
  • Alessandro Sterlacchini


This paper is based upon a survey on a regional sample of Italian inventors who, between 1991 and 2005, were named in patent applications filed at the European Patent Office. Their features and patenting activities are examined in relation to the size of their organizations. Compared to those from medium and large companies, the inventors working in small firms are less productive in terms of patent applications. However, according to different indicators, it emerges that there is no difference in the average quality of patented inventions of the two groups. Nevertheless, one-third of small applicants evaluates negatively its patenting experience, while this is true for only a tiny fraction of larger patentees. On the basis of further interviews, we find that these assessments are particularly influenced by the different capacity to enforce patent rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Schettino & Alessandro Sterlacchini, 2009. "Reaping the Benefits of Patenting Activities: Does the Size of Patentees Matter?," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(6), pages 613-633.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:16:y:2009:i:6:p:613-633 DOI: 10.1080/13662710903371140

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy J. Sturgeon, 2002. "Modular production networks: a new American model of industrial organization," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 451-496, June.
    2. Peter Galvin & Andre Morkel, 2001. "Modularity On Industry Structure: The Case Of The World The Effect Of Product Bicycle Industry," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 31-47.
    3. Carliss Y. Baldwin & Kim B. Clark, 2000. "Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262024667, July.
    4. Fleming, Lee & Sorenson, Olav, 2001. "Technology as a complex adaptive system: evidence from patent data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1019-1039, August.
    5. Vincent Frigant & Damien Talbot, 2005. "Technological Determinism and Modularity: Lessons from a Comparison between Aircraft and Auto Industries in Europe," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 337-355.
    6. Hoetker, Glenn, 2002. "Do Modular Products Lead to Modular Organizations?," Working Papers 02-0130, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    7. Brusoni, Stefano & Prencipe, Andrea, 2001. "Unpacking the Black Box of Modularity: Technologies, Products and Organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 179-205, March.
    8. Dieter Ernst, 2005. "Limits to Modularity: Reflections on Recent Developments in Chip Design," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 303-335.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schettino, Francesco & Sterlacchini, Alessandro & Venturini, Francesco, 2013. "Inventive productivity and patent quality: Evidence from Italian inventors," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1043-1056.


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