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"Stacking" or "Picking" Patents? The Inventors' Choice Between Quantity and Quality

  • Myriam Mariani
  • Marzia Romanelli

This paper studies the determinants of the quantity and quality of inventors’ patents. It uses a sample of 793 inventors drawn from the PatVal-EU dataset and the information on EPO patents that they contributed to inventing during the period 1988-1998. It explores three aspects of the inventors’ productivity: 1) the number of EPO patents that they produce; 2) their average quality; 3) the quality of the most valuable patents. By jointly estimating the three equations we find that the inventors’ level of education, employment in a large firm and involvement in large-scale research projects positively affect quantity. Yet, apart from the size of the research project, none of these factors directly influences the expected quality of the innovations. They do, however, indirectly, as we find that the number of innovations explains the probability of producing a technological hit (the maximum value). Also, there are no decreasing returns in the innovation process at an individual level, as the number of innovations that an inventor produces is not correlated with their average quality.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2006/06.

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Date of creation: 14 Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2006/06
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  1. Harhoff, Dietmar & Reitzig, Markus, 2002. "Determinants of Opposition Against EPO Patent Grants - The Case of Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals," CEPR Discussion Papers 3645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Vopel, Katrin & Scherer, Frederic M. & Narin, Francis & Harhoff, Dietmar, 1997. "Citation Frequency and the Value of Patented Innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-27, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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