Patent Citations Reexamined
36 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2016 Last revised: 23 Jun 2018
Date Written: June 1, 2018
Many studies rely on patent citations to measure intellectual heritage and impact. In this article, we use a vector space model of patent similarity, and new data from the USPTO, to show that the nature of patent citations has changed dramatically in recent years. Today, a small minority of patent applications are generating a large majority of patent citations, and the mean technological similarity between citing and cited patents has fallen dramatically. We replicate several well-known studies in industrial organization and innovation economics and demonstrate how overly generalized assumptions about the nature of patent citations have misled the field.
Keywords: patents, citations, innovation economics, USPTO, examiner, applicant, rejections
JEL Classification: O3, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation