Patent Citation Generation at the Triadic Offices: Mechanisms and Implications for Analysis
45 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2022
Date Written: February 1, 2022
Patent citations have been used for over four decades as indicators of numerous aspects of technological progress, including knowledge flows, technological evolution, and patent impact. However, research on these topics often ignores the variable contexts in which examiners, applicants, and third parties generate these citations, and the meanings that we may infer as a result. While technological progress is becoming increasingly global in nature, differing citation practices at patent offices around the world often present a challenge to those aiming to study this progress in a comprehensive manner. To remedy this, we review the many mechanisms that give rise to citations in each of the triadic patent offices collectively responsible for generating the vast majority of readily available citation data, integrating literature from economics, management, and law to assess the biases inherent in these mechanisms. We discuss the ways in which the richness of citation data and metadata at the family level can be leveraged in empirical settings to reduce noise, improve interpretability, and access information that is impossible to uncover in data that is restricted to a single jurisdiction.
Keywords: Patent citations, patent families, triadic patents, patent analysis, innovation, invention
JEL Classification: O30, O32, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation