Patent Citations Reexamined

36 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2016 Last revised: 23 Jun 2018

Jeffrey M. Kuhn

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School

Kenneth A. Younge

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL-CDM)

Alan C. Marco

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Public Policy

Date Written: June 1, 2018

Abstract

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

Kuhn, Jeffrey M. and Younge, Kenneth A. and Marco, Alan C., Patent Citations Reexamined (June 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2714954 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2714954

Jeffrey M. Kuhn (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

Kenneth A. Younge

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL-CDM) ( email )

Station 5
1015 Lausanne
Switzerland

Alan C. Marco

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Public Policy ( email )

685 Cherry St.
Atlanta, GA 30332-0345
United States

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