11/15/2010 2:00:00 AM By
Research using intellectual property administrative records continues to advance at a brisk pace with some really exciting new developments. I'll give a couple of updates from very different strands of activity that I am aware of. I doubt I am doing anyone full justice in my summaries, but hopefully you will explore further!
Most interestingly from my perspective are some of the work happening at the OECD and other venues which is trying to bring trademark and copyright filings into the discussion. Patent data have been the dominant source for researchers for some time, largely due to its easy availability and efforts by folks like NBER to make new versions of the data easily available. While still very early, this work has potential to open up new means of using these other types of IP to understand innovations which might not be as technical but more process oriented. I saw some of this work presented last week at the OECD as an update to this working paper
but there appears to be a lot of other opportunities to look into this topic
. Now, since trademarks are more common they appear to be even more messy than patents when it comes to attempting to do matches, etc. Thus, I am still cautious in my reading of some of these findings because the match rates are not strong and some of the data which the OECD is matching too is least representative or accurate for small and new businesses. We want more types of businesses in our samples than just those that patent but things get complicated quickly once doing so. It will take some time for scholars to figure out good means of making sense of some of this chaos.
I am booked with other activities during Global Entrepreneurship Week, but if I weren't I'd love to attend "Patent Statistics for Decision Makers 2010
." Interesting agenda which seems to offer a broad overview of some leading areas of patent-based research from the U.S., European Union, and others. The last year has seen the proliferation of economists within patent offices. I think this will be a good thing. Indeed, the U.S. PTO snagged one of our best academics - Stuart Graham (read background docs on their emerging research strategy
) - to be their first Chief Economist and I learned last week the United Kingdom has also hired someone. So, seems to be the potential for a lot of change in this area if only because new ideas and resources are flowing in.
Lastly, I want to point to some work from Grid Thoma
(and others I am not entirely positive). It's a new dataset on patenting firms in USPTO and EPO/PCT that has been disclosed for research purposes. This dataset covers the whole population of patent documents and allows a user to query directly the patenters in the business directories and link it with other complementary information such as firms demographics, financial statement, ownership information, etc. The dataset is accompanied by an extensive paper describing originating dataset, methodology, and software code used to create it. More information on data and paper can be found at www.epip.eu/datacentre.php
. With so many versions of patent data proliferating out there, I would love feedback from users of some of these data as to their strengths and weaknesses.
6/10/2010 9:00:00 AM By
The 2010 Kauffman Interagency Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation Data
(on June 4) brought together more than 50 representatives from the federal statistical community, academia, and other interested parties to talk about upcoming changes to ways in which the federal statistical agencies will be collecting data. The level of interaction among the agencies at the Forum and real interest in overall improvements was heartening to see. We were privileged to be the conveners of this conversation but clearly the hard work of making progress on entrepreneurship and innovation measurement is underway at the agency level. The Forum was mostly meant for in-person conversations and interaction but the agencies presenting did consent for us to post their PowerPoints for those interested. Below are the presentations and a couple of highlights from my perspective of their work.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (QCEW PPT
and NLSY PPT
- BLS plans to release a new series of tables on age and survival of the establishment (and firm, I believe) in August 2010 as a part of the Business Employment Dynamics series. This will add to the flood of new data becoming available on cohorts of firms and should prove interesting to compare with the Census Bureau's Business Dynamics Statistics.
- Birth and Death counts, without suppressions, by detailed industry and county are in the works. The concept of county-level business data without suppression is something which should excite a lot of local researchers and economic development agencies as most county-level data has to be aggregated to a level which is frustrating for looking at specific industries.
- The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth is collecting data on their 1979 cohort related to activities in business ownership and patenting. While not available for another two years it should be rich data for researchers.
Census Bureau (PPT
- Updates are underway to the Business Dynamics Statistics that will bring it up to the end of 2008 and likely produce more useful tables for following cohorts of firms over time at the state level.
- Synthetic microdata will be available through the Cornell RDC in the fall for the Longitudinal Business Database. This will be interesting to watch as synthetic microdata isn't actual data but rather a data set which has been built off of real data but with crucial changes to aspects of the data to ensure confidentiality of individual responses. I think the consensus on synthetic microdata is still out but its definitely one of the emerging solutions to providing microdata access to government data in an era of increasing confidentiality concerns with putting public-use microdata files on the Internet.
- I am really excited to see that the integration of characteristics of business owners into the business data is finally on the agenda in an ongoing manner. There is so much potential for new useful public products here like women in high-tech businesses or high-growth minority businesses. Many policy interventions are aimed at underrepresented minority groups in entrepreneurship and this has the potential to finally allow for tracking of changes in this arena annually, not just every five years, which is currently the most up-to-date data available matching business and ownership characteristics.
Federal Reserve Board (PPT
- The Federal Reserve didn't have huge updates for the room but did talk about their impromptu panel of households from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finance who were contacted in 2009 again. Specific questions were included relating to the changes in business ownership among the panel which will help to inform some aspects of our understanding about the impact of the financial crisis on business-owning households.
National Science Foundation (PPT
- Anyone following NSF's innovation surveys over the last decade knows that this is a time of huge payoff for them. After much review, planning, and pain, the new Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) is finally available to the public. And while the current releases are on 2008 collections, improvements made in 2009 look very positive are likely to provide even more meaningful information.
- Quite a bit of the discussion came around what to do on measuring technology commercialization in the university space. NSF indicated a new report should be coming out soon from an external group with recommendations for them on that topic. I'll be following up with that and adding more commentary then.
- The Microbusiness Innovation Survey is very early in development but still promises to be the most exciting possible change underway in the next few years in our understanding of innovation in the U.S. NSF is showing real leadership in taking on this survey and considering what topics are most appropriate to get innovation activities in very small businesses. More expert meetings and user groups are planned for this fall into 2010.
Patent and Trademark Office(PPT
- Did you know that the Patent and Trademark Office now has a chief economist? Well, Stuart Graham, the first occupant of this seat, is really taking the lead in improving the data the PTO makes available from their work.
- The PTO has recently done a bulk upload of information to Google and has plans for many future transfers of patent and trademark data.
- The PTO is also actively looking at what other agencies would make sense to partner in matching PTO data into more traditional statistical agency products. The PTO isn't really a statistical office (at least yet) so I think they are smart to look at partnerships that could produce really meaningful new information.
5/7/2010 12:18:10 PM By
We have released 2008 data for the Kauffman Firm Survey panel of new businesses (public-use data
and NORC Data Enclave confidential version
). Covering the fifth year of operations, this data will provide new insights into how the recession has impacted young businesses in the U.S. We will be releasing an overview report on the data next week.
I wanted to point out one area of inquiry that we added to the questionnaire in 2008
that I am anxious for people to examine - investments in intangible assets. Specifically, we added the following series of questions:
- F19b. Investments in intangible assets are expenditures expected to produce long-term benefits for businesses. I'm going to read you some types of intangible assets. When thinking about each category, please consider the cost of in-house activities in these areas including the time of the business owner(s), as well as services or license fees from outside providers. Did [NAME BUSINESS] have expenditures in [ITEM] in calendar year 2008?
a. The design of new and improved products and services
b. Investments in software or databases?
c. Brand development such as advertising or marketing?
d. Organizational development such as company formation expenses or
e. Worker training?
f. Any other intangible asset investments? (SPECIFY)
- F19c. Thinking about all the intangible asset expenditures [LIST IF NECESSARY] you just told me about, please estimate [NAME BUSINESS]'s total expenses on intangible assets for calendar year 2008.
And the initial summary findings from 2008 on this topic are:
- Half of firms made investments in intangible assets in 2008, compared with just 14 percent of firms investing in research and development (R&D). Intangible asset spending averaged $28,000 in 2008, while average R&D spending was more than $54,000. High-tech firms are much more likely to have patents, copyrights, or trademarks. R&D investment and investment in intangible assets also were much higher for high-tech firms than for non-tech firms in 2008.
If you are interested in reading more about the conceptualization behind these questions or other international work in this area, there is a working paper presented at the American Economic Association
available and I believe future iterations of it are planned. In 2009
we will repeat the questions used here and expand the expenses question so that it is asked about each subcomponent reportedly used by the firm. Understanding further what sorts of investments businesses are making in what they perceive to be long-term payoffs is an important contribution to the more accurate measurement innovation so I can't wait to see what researchers make of this information!
I want to give a big thanks to the Kauffman Firm Survey team for their continued outstanding work on this eight-year effort. Alicia Robb continues to show tremendous leadership as principal investigator and Dave Des Roches at Mathematica runs a tight ship in collecting the data. The fact that he and his team have been able to maintain an above 80 percent response rate in the fifth year of the panel is amazing. Tim Mulcahy and team at NORC have a great product in the Data Enclave. We are really excited to have Juan Carlos Suarez Serrato helping out as a part-time research assistant and John Mueller and Chris Crawford helping to develop the KFS Data Wiki (more on that in the next few weeks).
6/3/2009 1:18:00 AM By
Wanted to highlight a conference we are helping to sponsor next week on the topic of patents and entrepreneurship at George Washington Law School.
4/27/2009 3:18:00 AM By
A new paper outlines some of the insights that can be learned through matching of patents and business databases as a complement to much of the Community Innovation Survey work in Europe. While I didn't find the paper to go very deeply into the issue, its pan-Nordic scope of consideration was unique to the papers that I have seen in this area.
One issue which the researchers didn't deal with in very much detail was the impact on their research of having to use Amadeus data instead of business register data for two countries. While researchers have little choice except to mix data sources, I do wonder what impacts this has on our understanding. Amadeus is becoming so heavily used in Europe, in international organizations, and even now by U.S. scholars doing cross-country work, but I would still like to understand more about its similarities and differences by country to other data sources. If anyone has references here, I'd welcome them.
4/10/2009 2:16:00 AM By
2/26/2009 3:23:00 AM By
There is little doubt to me that those of us following innovation measurement are patent obsessed, but that's not often because we want to be. But as much as we talk about moving away from patents, patents are relatively easy to get data on and as such patents remain the dominant source of data used to look at innovation by academics around the world. The OECD Patent Statistics Manual is a primer for anyone looking to use patents as an indicator. Check out their newly revised edition on the OECD's patent statistics page.
Chapter 1. Objectives and Scope of the Manual
Chapter 2. Patents as Statistical Indicators of Science and Technology
Introduction | Legal foundations of patents | Administrative routes for protection | Economic foundations of patents | The information content of patent documents | Patents as statistical indicators of inventive activity | Patent databases | Topics of investigation
Chapter 3. Patent Systems and Procedures
Introduction | The core patenting procedure | National and regional procedures | International patent applications
Chapter 4. Basic Criteria for Compiling Patent-Based Indicators
Introduction | Reference date | Reference country | PCT applications | Patent families | Normalised country-level patent indicators
Chapter 5. Classifying Patents by Different Criteria
Introduction | Technology fields | Industry classification | Regional classification | Institutional sectors | Patents by companies | Patents by investors
Chapter 6. The Use and Analysis of Citations in Patents
Introduction | What are citations? | Uses and applications of citations indicators | Citation practices in patent offices | Citation-based indicators | Non-patent literature | Other indicators based citation categories (EPO and PCT search reports)
Chapter 7. Indicators of Internationalisation of Science and Technology
Introduction | Indicators | Ownership and research strategies
Chapter 8. Indicators of Patent Value
Introduction | Forward citations | Indicators