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What do you mean by "mobile"? Multi-applicant inventors in the European Bio-Technology Industry


  • Francesco Laforgia
  • Francesco Lissoni


Many recent papers dealing with the issue of knowledge spillovers have relied on patent data to extract information on so-called mobile inventors that is inventors designated by patent applications filed by different companies. In this paper we follow in this tradition, but with the aim of setting straight a number of methodological issues. By making use of information on the identity and history of those applicants, we then propose a taxonomy of the phenomena behind multi-applicant inventorship, which distinguishes between job mobility, mobility as a result of M&As, a case which we suspect to be dominated by the markets for research and for technologies, and residuals cases. We then argue that different multi-applicant inventors’ categories have to do with different patterns of knowledge diffusion, which include both spillovers and markets for technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Laforgia & Francesco Lissoni, 2006. "What do you mean by "mobile"? Multi-applicant inventors in the European Bio-Technology Industry," DRUID Working Papers 06-15, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:06-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maury Gittleman & Michael Horrigan & Mary Joyce, 1998. "“Flexible†Workplace Practices: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Survey," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(1), pages 99-115, October.
    2. Jensen, Morten Berg & Johnson, Bjorn & Lorenz, Edward & Lundvall, Bengt Ake, 2007. "Forms of knowledge and modes of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 680-693, June.
    3. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-338, May.
    4. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    5. repec:hrv:faseco:30726298 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Favaro, Donata & Ninka, Eniel & Turvani, Margherita, 2012. "Productivity in innovation: the role of inventor connections and mobility," MPRA Paper 38950, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Patents; mobile inventors; multi-applicant inventorship; knowledge diffusion;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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