Distance (Still) Hampers Diffusion of Innovations

CCP Working Paper 19-5

USPTO Economic Working Paper

41 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2019 Last revised: 1 Feb 2021

See all articles by Georg von Graevenitz

Georg von Graevenitz

Queen Mary, School of Business and Management; Center for Competition Policy; University of Glasgow - CREATe, RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy

Stuart J.H. Graham

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Amanda Myers

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Date Written: August 20, 2019

Abstract

This paper explores a newly emerging source of data on the occurrence and spread of innovations
drawn from descriptions of goods and services in the US trademark register. Using these data we
describe patterns of regional innovation in the United States and study the effect of distance on the
early diffusion of innovations. To identify innovations and their locations we tokenize trademark
descriptions and identify novel, fast spreading tokens (words). While trademarks appear to capture
many innovations missed in patents, among tokens that co-occur in patent documents the diffusion
dynamics for patents and trademarks are similar. We also find that fast growing new tokens are
frequently new to English, and their use in language co-evolves with the frequency of linked patents
and trademarks. Finally, we show that regional incidence of new tokens parallels patterns of inventive activity reflected in patent data. We exploit occurrence of new trademark tokens to re-examine how spatial distance affects the diffusion of innovations in the U.S. economy. Aggregating innovations at the year and census tract level we estimate Poisson models of diffusion intensity between locations, revealing persistent, strong and negative effects of distance on the intensity of diffusion between locations within the US.

Keywords: Innovation, Diffusion, Rate of Diffusion, Distance, Innovation Index, Trademarks, Patents

JEL Classification: O3, O51, R1, R32

Suggested Citation

von Graevenitz, Georg and Graham, Stuart J.H. and Myers, Amanda, Distance (Still) Hampers Diffusion of Innovations (August 20, 2019). CCP Working Paper 19-5, USPTO Economic Working Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3444989 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3444989

Georg Von Graevenitz (Contact Author)

Queen Mary, School of Business and Management ( email )

Mile End
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Center for Competition Policy ( email )

UEA
Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR47TJ
United Kingdom

University of Glasgow - CREATe, RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy ( email )

10 The Square, Glasgow University
Glasgow, G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

Stuart J.H. Graham

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States
404-385-0953 (Phone)
404-894-6030 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.scheller.gatech.edu/graham

Amanda Myers

United States Patent and Trademark Office ( email )

Alexandria
VA 22313-1451
United States

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