Assessing the Representativeness of Published US Patent Records: A Research Guide
56 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2018
Date Written: March 2017
This article describes the “USPTO Patent Examination Research Dataset” (PatEx), and explores possible selection issues and the representativeness of the 9.1 million US patent application records it contains. We find that data are sparse for years before 1981, and that serious selection issues affect records on applications filed prior to 2001 due to non-publication in the US. Following implementation of a policy change in November 2000, however, both coverage and representativeness of the PatEx data improve substantially. Our analysis uncovers specific areas that are prone to selectivity issues by generating statistical evidence across application characteristics such as application type, age, ownership type, domestic or foreign origin, patent family status, and technology class among others. While our exploration suggests to researchers several categories of specific concern, our findings overall show that the PatEx data are generally representative of the population of patent applications filed in the US after 2000 across observable characteristics. [Note: a reference Appendix is attached to the end of this manuscript].
Keywords: Patents, Patent examination, Innovation research
JEL Classification: O31, O34, Y10, C49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation