4.3 Patents & Patents Citations
There is increasing interest in creating more and better indicators of the commercialization of research to assess how the results of research are transferred from the academic sector to the corporate or government sectors. Academic patent citations, defined as formal citations of academic publications in industry patents, provide one way of understanding corporate usage of academic research.31 They can be used as a proxy for measuring how much academic research contributes to innovation.32
Past studies suggest that academic researchers and industry interact in a multitude of channels beyond academic co-authorship,33 and counting patent citations is one of several lenses for understanding the linkage between academic research and intellectual property.
From 2004–2013, 959,172 patents were granted to U.S. inventors. California, with 25.1 percent of all patents granted to U.S. inventors, had a national patent share more than three times the level of the next closest state, Texas (7.1 percent). The remaining top five states in terms of patents granted were New York (6.4 percent), Massachusetts (4.5 percent), and Washington (4.2 percent).
While California and especially Silicon Valley generates a high level of innovation, these statistics otherwise obscure how much the research produced by other states contributes to patents.
In terms of patent citation share relative to U.S. publication share,34 as Figure 4.5 shows, research from across the country—particularly in the Northeast—are cited in patents at rates higher than their underlying publication shares. The top states in terms of this normalized patent citation indicator were: Massachusetts (1.69), Maryland (1.54), Maine (1.45), Michigan (1.40) and Washington (1.38). This means that these states’ research outputs had a much greater impact on innovation than their research volume would otherwise suggest.
New York’s research in computer science from 2004–2012 was cited in 1,026 patents, comprising 23.5 percent of all patent citations in that field. It had a patent citation share to national publication share ratio of 1.73, the highest among all states. This suggests that the state’s research in computer science has a much greater impact on innovation than its national publication volume would suggest.
Figure 4.5—Ratio of National Patent Citation Share to National Publication Share across all States, 2004–2012.
Source: LexisNexis® patent database and Scopus®
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