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Domestic patents and developing countries: arguments for their study and data from Brazil (1980-1995)

  • Eduardo da Motta e Albuquerque


This paper presents data from Brazilian Patent Office (Instituto Nacional de Propriedade Industrial, INPI) and compares them with data from the United States Patent Office (USPTO). Developing countries have technological activities that are important locally but not significant at international level (imitation, local learning, adaptation of foreign innovations). These activities might be patentable only at national level. Therefore, the study of domestic patents of developing countries provides a broader picture than USPTO patents. This paper compares 8,316 INPI patents with 475 USPTO patents (between 1980-1995). Domestic patent data show peculiarities in the Brazilian case, possibly shared with other countries in similar technological level: a) high share of individual patents; b) foreign-owned firms with important activities; c) low firm involvement in R&D activities. Some characteristics are shared with developed countries: a) domestic firms as the major patentees; b) according to firm size, there is a U-shaped distribution of patents; c) evidences of multi-technology large firms; d) a relatively small share of firms have more than one patent in the whole period. Putting together USPTO and national patenting shows different rankings according to ownership structure, leading firms, industrial sectors, and international patent classification. These differences highlight sources of international competitiveness and point to weaknesses in Brazilian innovative activities. This paper concludes evaluating the contributions (and weaknesses) of this database for the evaluation of the Brazilian National System of Innovation.

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Paper provided by Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in its series Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG with number td127.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Research Policy, 2000, vol. 29, no. 9, pp. 1047-1060.
Handle: RePEc:cdp:texdis:td127
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  1. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pavitt, Keith, 1984. "Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 343-373, December.
  3. Patel, Parimal & Pavitt, Keith, 1994. "The continuing, widespread (and neglected) importance of improvements in mechanical technologies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 533-545, September.
  4. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Geroski, Paul A & Samiei, Hossein & Van Reenen, John, 1996. "How Persistently do Firms Innovate?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1433, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. John Bound & Clint Cummins & Zvi Griliches & Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam B. Jaffe, 1984. "Who Does R&D and Who Patents?," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 21-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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