Patent Citations - An Analysis of Quality Differences and Citing Practices in Hybrid Corn

52 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2016

See all articles by Petra Moser

Petra Moser

NYU Stern Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joerg Ohmstedt

Bain & Company; Cornell University - Department of Economics

Paul W. Rhode

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 24, 2016

Abstract

A growing empirical literature uses patent citations as a quality-adjusted measure for innovation, despite concerns about the validity of this measure. This paper links patents with objective measures of improvements in the quality of patented inventions – measured through performance in field trials for hybrid corn – to examine three potential factors that influence citations: 1) improvements in performance 2) citing practices of patent attorneys, and 3) citing practices of patent examiners. This analysis reveals that citations are robustly correlated with performance, which confirms that citations are a useful quality adjusted measure for innovation. The citing practices of patent attorneys and examiners, however, also influence citations. Patent attorneys cite early patents, which help establish the patentability of an invention; this practice may inflate citation counts for early patents, particularly for inventions that have only recently become patentable. Attorneys also add self-citations; our analysis indicates that that self-citations can be an indicator of follow-on invention. By comparison, examiner-added citations are typically unrelated to improvements in performance or follow-on invention.

Suggested Citation

Moser, Petra and Ohmstedt, Joerg and Rhode, Paul W., Patent Citations - An Analysis of Quality Differences and Citing Practices in Hybrid Corn (March 24, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2754341 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2754341

Petra Moser (Contact Author)

NYU Stern Department of Economics ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Joerg Ohmstedt

Bain & Company ( email )

Two Copley Place
Boston, MA 02118
United States

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States

Paul W. Rhode

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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