Patent Citations as a Measure of Knowledge Flows: The Influence of Examiner Citations
Analysis of patent citations is a core methodology in the study of knowledge diffusion. However, citations made by patent examiners have not been separately reported, adding unknown noise to the data. We leverage a recent change in the reporting of patent data showing citations added by examiners. The magnitude is high: two-thirds of citations on the average patent are inserted by examiners. Furthermore, 40% of all patents have all citations added by examiners. We analyze the distribution of examiner and inventor citations with respect to self-citation, distance, technology overlap, and vintage. Results indicate that inferences about inventor knowledge using pooled citations may suffer from bias or overinflated significance levels. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Volume (Year): 88 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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