Patterns of Creation and Discovery

An Analysis of Defense Laboratory Patenting and Innovation

by Kay Sullivan Faith

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Abstract

Science and technology policy continues to be limited by how little is known about the drivers of innovation. One barrier in conducting systematic studies is the lack of an objective measure for innovation. Patents continue to be an attractive measurement tool, but many questions remain about their comprehensiveness, relevance in different domains, and accuracy given the highly skew med distributions seen in different estimates of patent value. This study develops a new approach to measuring research and innovation performance using patents by examining the trends in patent filings over time within organizations and within technology classes. Within any single organization's patent portfolio, the sequence of patent filings over time in any given class tends to follow one of four patterns. These within-organization, within-class patterns are potentially signatures of specific research and commercialization approaches which have innovative connotations. This study develops several hypotheses regarding the organizational drivers of these patenting patterns and, using data from the DOD laboratories, demonstrates how these patenting patterns can be used to study the relationships between the rate and type of innovation and various quantitative and qualitative organizational characteristics.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Background

  • Chapter Three

    Within-Organization Patent Patterns: identification and data sources

  • Chapter Four

    Patenting Patterns as Indicators of Innovation

  • Chapter Five

    Using Patenting Patterns in the Study of Research and Innovation Processes

  • Chapter Six

    Summary

  • Chapter Seven

    References

  • Appendix A

    Common Research Evaluation Methods

  • Appendix B

    Review of Patent Value Studies

  • Appendix C

    USPTO Classification System

  • Appendix D

    Overview of the DOD laboratory system

This document was submitted as a dissertation in August 2013 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Cynthia Cook (Chair), Susan Marquis, Gery Ryan, and Rich Silberglitt.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation dissertation series. PRGS dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a PRGS faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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