Investigating the impacts of technological positions and European environmental regulations on automotive patent activity

Nicolò Barbieri
University of Bologna
Thursday, 10 April 2014 - 12:00

Using patent data on 755 applicants that carry out environmental inventions related to the road transport of passengers and goods, we investigate whether the environmental transport policy portfolio and the technological positions of assignees, boost green patent production. Our findings suggest that post-taxes fuel prices and European emission standards, introduced in the empirical model through an innovative methodology, influence positively the creation of environmental inventions. In addition, we advocate that inventors anticipate the introduction of the performance standards, filing patents before the implementation of the regulations and avoiding the shock that this policy instrument may generate.
Furthermore, we provide evidences that close located organisations in the technological space (which returns the similarities between the research efforts pursued in each technological field by applicants) enhance their patent output through the exploitation of technical knowledge produced by others. This means that the less the cognitive distance between assignees, the more the likelihood to take advantage from the knowledge produced by others. Finally, we observe that technological opportunities that modify assignees’ patent portfolio spur inventive performances.


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