IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/19089.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Importance (or not) of Patents to UK Firms

Author

Listed:
  • Bronwyn H. Hall
  • Christian Helmers
  • Mark Rogers
  • Vania Sena

Abstract

A surprisingly small number of innovative firms use the patent system. In the UK, the share of firms patenting among those reporting that they have innovated is about 4%. Survey data from the same firms support the idea that they do not consider patents or other forms of registered IP as important as informal IP for protecting inventions. We show that there are a number of explanations for these findings: most firms are SMEs, many innovations are new to the firm, but not to the market, and many sectors are not patent active. We find evidence pointing to a positive association between patenting and innovative performance measured as turnover due to innovation, but not between patenting and subsequent employment growth. The analysis relies on a new integrated dataset for the UK that combines a range of data sources into a panel at the enterprise level.

Suggested Citation

  • Bronwyn H. Hall & Christian Helmers & Mark Rogers & Vania Sena, 2013. "The Importance (or not) of Patents to UK Firms," NBER Working Papers 19089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19089
    Note: LE PR
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19089.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mairesse, Jacques & Mohnen, Pierre, 2010. "Using Innovation Surveys for Econometric Analysis," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1129-1155, Elsevier.
    2. Katrin Cremers & Max Ernicke & Fabian Gaessler & Dietmar Harhoff & Christian Helmers & Luke McDonagh & Paula Schliessler & Nicolas Zeebroeck, 2017. "Patent litigation in Europe," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 1-44, August.
      • Cremers, Katrin & Ernicke, Max & Gaessler, Fabian & Harhoff, Dietmar & Helmers, Christian & McDonagh, Luke & Schliessler, Paula & Van Zeebroeck, Nicolas, 2013. "Patent litigation in Europe," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-072, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
      • Katrin Cremers & Max Ernicke & Fabian Gaessler & Dietmar Harhoff & Christian Helmers & Luke Mc Donagh & Paula Schliessler & Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2017. "Patent litigation in Europe," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/226239, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Brouwer, Erik & Kleinknecht, Alfred, 1999. "Innovative output, and a firm's propensity to patent.: An exploration of CIS micro data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 615-624, August.
    4. Arundel, Anthony, 2001. "The relative effectiveness of patents and secrecy for appropriation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 611-624, April.
    5. Edwin Mansfield, 1986. "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(2), pages 173-181, February.
    6. Natarajan Balasubramanian & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2011. "What Happens When Firms Patent? New Evidence from U.S. Economic Census Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 126-146, February.
    7. 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.
    8. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2004. "Little Patents and Big Secrets: Managing Intellectual Property," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 1-22, Spring.
    9. Sakakibara, Mariko & Branstetter, Lee, 2001. "Do Stronger Patents Induce More Innovation? Evidence from the 1988 Japanese Patent Law Reforms," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 77-100, Spring.
    10. Katrin Hussinger, 2006. "Is Silence Golden? Patents Versus Secrecy At The Firm Level," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(8), pages 735-752.
    11. F. M. Scherer, 1965. "Corporate Inventive Output, Profits, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 290-290.
    12. Giuri, Paola & Mariani, Myriam & Brusoni, Stefano & Crespi, Gustavo & Francoz, Dominique & Gambardella, Alfonso & Garcia-Fontes, Walter & Geuna, Aldo & Gonzales, Raul & Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin, 2007. "Inventors and invention processes in Europe: Results from the PatVal-EU survey," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1107-1127, October.
    13. Diana Heger & Alexandra K. Zaby, 2013. "The heterogeneous costs of disclosure and the propensity to patent," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(3), pages 630-652, July.
    14. Bronwyn H. Hall & Christian Helmers & Mark Rogers & Vania Sena, 2012. "The Choice between Formal and Informal Intellectual Property: A Literature Review," NBER Working Papers 17983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. repec:nsr:niesrd:410 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Crass, Dirk & Garcia Valero, Francisco & Pitton, Francesco & Rammer, Christian, 2016. "Protecting innovation through patents and trade secrets: Determinants and performance impacts for firms with a single innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-061, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. Malte Mosel, 2012. "The role of patents and secrecy for intellectual property protection: theory and evidence," Working Papers 117, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    4. Bronwyn Hall & Christian Helmers & Mark Rogers & Vania Sena, 2014. "The Choice between Formal and Informal Intellectual Property: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(2), pages 375-423, June.
    5. Fontana, Roberto & Nuvolari, Alessandro & Shimizu, Hiroshi & Vezzulli, Andrea, 2013. "Reassessing patent propensity: Evidence from a dataset of R&D awards, 1977–2004," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(10), pages 1780-1792.
    6. Crass, Dirk & Valero, Francisco Garcia & Pitton, Francesco & Rammer, Christian, 2019. "Protecting Innovation Through Patents and Trade Secrets: Evidence for Firms with a Single Innovation," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 117-156.
    7. Bos, Brenda & Broekhuizen, Thijs L.J. & de Faria, Pedro, 2015. "A dynamic view on secrecy management," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2619-2627.
    8. Walsh, John P. & Lee, You-Na & Jung, Taehyun, 2016. "Win, lose or draw? The fate of patented inventions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1362-1373.
    9. Malte Mosel, 2011. "Big patents, small secrets: how firms protect inventions when R&D outcome is heterogeneous," Working Papers 105, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    10. Barros, Henrique M., 2008. "The interaction between patents and other appropriability mechanisms: firm-level evidence from UK manufacturing," Insper Working Papers wpe_105, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    11. Cohen, Wesley M., 2010. "Fifty Years of Empirical Studies of Innovative Activity and Performance," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 129-213, Elsevier.
    12. AndreÌ s LoÌ pez & Eugenia Orlicki, 2009. "Who Uses the Patent System in Developing Countries? A Study of Patent Propensities in Argentina, 1992-2001," Microeconomics Working Papers 22785, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    13. Penin, Julien, 2005. "Patents versus ex post rewards: A new look," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 641-656, June.
    14. Mark Vancauteren, 2018. "The effects of human capital, R&D and firm’s innovation on patents: a panel study on Dutch food firms," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 901-922, August.
    15. de Rassenfosse, Gaetan & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2009. "A policy insight into the R&D-patent relationship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 779-792, June.
    16. Katrin Hussinger, 2006. "Is Silence Golden? Patents Versus Secrecy At The Firm Level," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(8), pages 735-752.
    17. Nicolas van Zeebroeck & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2011. "Filing strategies and patent value," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(6), pages 539-561, February.
    18. d’Andria, Diego, 2016. "Why are researchers paid bonuses? On technology spillovers and market rivalry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 2105-2112.
    19. Cohen, Wesley M. & Goto, Akira & Nagata, Akiya & Nelson, Richard R. & Walsh, John P., 2002. "R&D spillovers, patents and the incentives to innovate in Japan and the United States," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1349-1367, December.
    20. Reinhilde Veugelers & Cédric Schneider, 2018. "Which IP strategies do young highly innovative firms choose?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 113-129, January.
    21. Paul Belleflamme & Paul Bloch, 2013. "Dynamic Protection of Innovations through Patents and Trade Secrets," CESifo Working Paper Series 4486, CESifo.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19089. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.