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The Handbook of Technology and Innovation Management by Scott Shane

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10.3. Why is Interest in IP Growing within the Academic Community?

The proliferation of IP-related articles could be driven by many factors. Prominent among these is the more widespread availability and use of patent-based statistics. When Schmookler (1966) conducted his pioneering work using patent data to trace the sources of technological change, he spent a year in the basement at the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and manually categorized the information contained in original patent documents.[] Although far less heroic, some of us may recall trips to regional patent depositories to retrieve data, floppy disks in hand. Today, electronic databases with information on millions of US patents are available for free from the NBER web site [] or can be purchased from private vendors, such as Micropatent or Delphion. Meanwhile, advances in computing power and statistical software packages have facilitated the use of these data.

[] As reported in Griliches and Hurwicz (1972, p. 88). I thank Mike Scherer, author of other landmark studies in the 1960s using patent statistics (Scherer 1965a, 1965b), for pointing me toward this reference. In personal correspondence, Scherer also recalled how the formation of the PTO's Office of Technology

[] The NBER patent database is available for download at: http://www.nber.org/patents/. Hall et al. (2001) discuss the database and define key variables and their construction. See also the National University of Singapore patent database, which ...

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