Boundary Spanning Innovation and the Patent System: Interdisciplinary Challenges for a Specialized Examination System

34 Pages Posted: 12 May 2018 Last revised: 29 May 2018

See all articles by Ryan Whalen

Ryan Whalen

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 11, 2018

Abstract

This article discusses the importance of boundary spanning innovation, demonstrates the drawbacks of popular meta-data based boundary spanning measures, and proposes a new full text semantic similarity measure of boundary spanning. It subsequently uses the semantic distance boundary spanning measure to demonstrate that boundary spanning innovation has become more common in recent decades, and show that these boundary spanning inventions pose challenges for the traditional specialized-examiner patent examination model. Examining the applications for inventions that span technical boundaries takes longer and requires more back-and-forth with the patent office than their comparatively simple peers. Finally, this article discusses potential reforms to the patent examination system to help address these challenges.

Keywords: Patents, Intellectual Property, Citation Analysis, Boundary Spanning, Patent Examination, Innovation Policy

JEL Classification: O32, O33, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Whalen, Ryan, Boundary Spanning Innovation and the Patent System: Interdisciplinary Challenges for a Specialized Examination System (April 11, 2018). Research Policy, Forthcoming; University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2018/024. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3170826

Ryan Whalen (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
China

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