Department of Economics

Collective Knowledge, Prolific Inventors and the Value of Inventions: An Empirical Study of French, German and British Owned U.S. Patents

Department of Economics

University of Delaware

Working Paper #2005-16

Collective Knowledge, Prolific Inventors and the Value of Inventions: An Empirical Study of French, German and British Owned U.S. Patents, 1975-1998

C. Gay, W. Latham and  C. Le Bas

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to test two related propositions: (1) that there is a direct, positive relationship between the involvement of a prolific inventor in the production of knowledge and the magnitudes in the collective dimension of this knowledge production, as measured by the presence of foreign inventors and the size of the inventive team; and (2) that there is a direct, positive relationship between the involvement of a prolific (or foreign) inventor and the value of the new knowledge produced. We use detailed information from nearly 300,000 patents granted by the US Patent Office to French, German and British inventors over the period from 1975 to 1999. From data available from each patent regarding citations of prior patents and the numbers and identities of the inventors listed in the patent application, we are able to construct measures of collective knowledge, the presence of prolific inventors, and the imputed value of patents. In a novel approach in this literature, we estimate negative binomial multiple regression models for determining measures of both collective knowledge and the value of the patents.  We find strong support, after controlling for technological field effects, for hypotheses that both prolific and foreign inventors tend to be parts of larger teams of inventors and that both prolific and foreign inventors tend to produce inventions having more value. In the conclusion, we draw some implications of these results for knowledge governance.

JEL Codes: O31, O32

Key words: Inventors, patents, prolific

The Lerner College is home to a state-of-the-art financial trading facility, the $1.4 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Fund, a student-managed restaurant and hotel, a high-technology development center of a global bank and a start-up experience for students with new business ideas.

Lerner College faculty - like Anu Sivaraman, who is among Social Media Marketing Magazine’s “Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter” and MBAprograms.org’s “Top 50 Marketing Professors on Twitter” - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

All Lerner College departments offer experience-driven learning and emphasize evidence-based analytics methods to enrich the student experience. Here, finance students visit New York City’s financial districts for a first-hand look at markets trading and to meet with UD alumni.

Charles W. Horn, AS75, and wife Patricia, recently made a $3 million commitment to enhance and expand entrepreneurial studies.

  • Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics
    303 Alfred Lerner Hall  •  Newark, DE 19716  •  USA  •  ©