Friday, January 29, 2016

Planning a patent citation study? Read this first.

Michael's post this morning about how patent citation data has changed over time reminded me of a nice review of the patent citation literature I saw recently by economists Adam Jaffe and GaĆ©tan de Rassenfosse: Patent Citation Data in Social Science Research: Overview and Best Practices. (Unfortunately, you need to be in an academic or government network or otherwise have access to NBER papers to read for free.) For those who are new to the field, this is a great place to start. In particular, it warns you about some common pitfalls, such as different citation practices across patent offices, changes across time and across technologies, examiner heterogeneity, and strategic effects. I think it understates the importance of recent work by Abrams et al. on why some high-value patents seem to receive few citations, but overall, it seems like a nice overview of the area.

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