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An Examination of the Antecedents and Implications of Patent Scope

Novelli, E. (2015). An Examination of the Antecedents and Implications of Patent Scope. Research Policy, 44, pp. 493-507. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2014.09.005


This paper focuses on the concept of patent scope, and contributes to existing research in three ways. First, it offers a re-examination of the construct and identifies two dimensions of patent scope, (1) the number of variations of the core inventive idea identified in the patent, reflected in the number of claims in the patent (e.g. Merges and Nelson, 1994); and (2) the positioning of those variations in the inventive space, which is reflected in the number of technological classes in which patent examiners classify those claims. Second, it investigates the implications of patent scope for the firm’s subsequent inventive performance, and finds that, when the scope of a patents spans across a higher number of technological classes, the extent to which the inventing firm itself succeeds in building on the knowledge underlying its own patent is lower. Third, it investigates the antecedents of scope, and suggests that prior investment in scientific knowledge and in related inventive experience are two factors that affect the scope of the patents that firms develop. The theoretical predictions elaborated in this paper are supported by an empirical examination of a longitudinal sample of firms in the photonics industry.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Patent scope; Forward citations; Scientific knowledge; Related inventive experience
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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