Patent Citations Reexamined

40 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2016 Last revised: 18 Jul 2019

See all articles by Jeffrey M. Kuhn

Jeffrey M. Kuhn

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

Kenneth A. Younge

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Alan C. Marco

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Public Policy

Date Written: June 24, 2019

Abstract

Many studies rely on patent citations to measure intellectual heritage and impact. In this article, we 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 considerably. We replicate several well-known studies in industrial organization and innovation economics and demonstrate how 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 24, 2019). RAND Journal of Economics, Forthcoming. 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

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( 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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