The Meaning of Patent Citations: Report on the Nber/Case-Western Reserve Survey of Patentees

45 Pages Posted: 21 May 2000 Last revised: 9 May 2022

See all articles by Adam B. Jaffe

Adam B. Jaffe

Brandeis University; Motu Economic and Public Policy Research; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Manuel Trajtenberg

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michael S. Fogarty

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 2000

Abstract

A survey of recent patentees was conducted to elicit their perceptions regarding the importance of their inventions, the extent of their communication with other inventors, and the relationship of both importance and communication to observed patent citations. A cohort of 1993 patentees were asked specifically about 2 patents that they had cited, and a third placebo' patent that was similar but which they did not cite. One of the two cited inventors was also surveyed. We find that inventors report significant communication, at least some of which is in forms that suggests spillovers from the cited inventor to the citing inventor. The perception of such communication was substantively and statistically significantly greater for the cited patents than for the placebos. There is, however, a large amount of noise in citations data; it appears that something like one-half of all citations do not correspond to any perceived communication, or even necessarily to a perceptible technological relationship between the inventions. We also find a significant correlation between the number of citations a patent received and its importance (both economic and technological) as perceived by the inventor.

Suggested Citation

Jaffe, Adam B. and Trajtenberg, Manuel and Fogarty, Michael S., The Meaning of Patent Citations: Report on the Nber/Case-Western Reserve Survey of Patentees (April 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7631, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=228106

Adam B. Jaffe (Contact Author)

Brandeis University ( email )

Waltham, MA 02454-9110
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HOME PAGE: http://www.brandeis.edu/global/people/faculty/jaff

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Manuel Trajtenberg

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics ( email )

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Israel
+972 3640 9911 (Phone)
+972 3640 9908 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Michael S. Fogarty

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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