Some Facts of High-Tech Patenting

36 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018

See all articles by Michael Webb

Michael Webb

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Nick Short

Harvard University

Nicholas Bloom

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Josh Lerner

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

Patenting in software, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence has grown rapidly in recent years. Such patents are acquired primarily by large US technology firms such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, and HP, as well as by Japanese multinationals such as Sony, Canon, and Fujitsu. Chinese patenting in the US is small but growing rapidly, and world-leading for drone technology. Patenting in machine learning has seen exponential growth since 2010, although patenting in neural networks saw a strong burst of activity in the 1990s that has only recently been surpassed. In all technological fields, the number of patents per inventor has declined near-monotonically, except for large increases in inventor productivity in software and semiconductors in the late 1990s. In most high-tech fields, Japan is the only country outside the US with significant US patenting activity; however, whereas Japan played an important role in the burst of neural network patenting in the 1990s, it has not been involved in the current acceleration. Comparing the periods 1970-89 and 2000-15, patenting in the current period has been primarily by entrant assignees, with the exception of neural networks.

JEL Classification: L86,O34

Suggested Citation

Webb, Michael and Short, Nick and Bloom, Nicholas and Lerner, Josh, Some Facts of High-Tech Patenting (July 2018). Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Working Paper No. 19-014; Harvard Business School Finance Working Paper No. 19-014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3233722 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3233722

Michael Webb

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
STANFORD, CA 94305-6072
United States

Nick Short

Harvard University

Nicholas Bloom

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building, Room 231
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650-725-7836 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://economics.stanford.edu/faculty/bloom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Josh Lerner (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6065 (Phone)
617-496-7357 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/jlerner/

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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