Patent examiners amending applicants: citation-based measures of trust in a country’s technological production

Joaquin Maria Azagra Caro
Thursday, 23 January 2014 - 12:00

Patent citations provide a flawed measure of knowledge flows, since differences in who inserted them (applicants or examiners) may alter the results of geographical analyses. However, these differences are useful to build indicators about trust in a country’s technological production. We find huge variation in the probability of an applicant originating a citation rather than the examiner across European countries, with European Patent Office (EPO) data of over 3,500,000 citations in years 1997-2007. Lower values of this probability indicate higher trust. Trust on inventions depends positively on their relatedness to science. University-industry cooperation is better than single invention or other modalities of institutional cooperation to increase trust. The impact of national characteristics on trust is complex, because of the mixed nature of citations (true or strategic). Patent procedures modify measurements of trust because of the existence of different phases and because of the institutional and individual characteristics of the patent office. Specifically, if examiners are likely to come from the same country of the applicants, trust increases, pointing to the existence of undesirable chauvinism in EPO patent examiners.


Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 4ª (Sala Descubre. Cubo Rojo)
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia | Camino de Vera s/n

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