The Importance (or Not) of Patents to UK Firms

36 Pages Posted: 31 May 2013 Last revised: 15 Mar 2015

See all articles by Bronwyn H. Hall

Bronwyn H. Hall

University of California at Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Christian Helmers

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business; Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Thomas Juster

University of Oxford

Vania Sena

University of Essex

Date Written: May 2013

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

Hall, Bronwyn H. and Helmers, Christian and Juster, Thomas and Sena, Vania, The Importance (or Not) of Patents to UK Firms (May 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19089. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2272524

Bronwyn H. Hall (Contact Author)

University of California at Berkeley ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

HOME PAGE: http://emlab.berkeley.edu/users/bhhall/index.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Christian Helmers

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA California 95053
United States

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid ( email )

CL. de Madrid 126
Madrid, Madrid 28903
Spain

Thomas Juster

University of Oxford

Vania Sena

University of Essex ( email )

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