Publications

2019

On the price elasticity of demand for trademarks

G. de Rassenfosse 

One underexplored factor directly affecting firms' use of trademarks relates to the fees associated with obtaining a mark. This paper provides econometric estimates of the fee elasticity of demand for trademark applications. Using a panel of monthly international trademark applications, I find that a 10-percent increase in fees leads to a 2.5-4.0-percent decrease in applications. The econometric analysis also highlights that trademark filings react strongly to economic activity. The results bear implications for literature on the value of trademarks and for the use of trademarks as innovation indicator. Specifically, low elasticity estimates suggest that trademarks provide significant economic value to their owners relative to their costs. However, one must exercise caution when comparing trademark numbers across countries to the extent that fees might differ substantially.

Industry And Innovation. 2019-03-21. DOI : 10.1080/13662716.2019.1591939.

2018

Econometric evidence on the depreciation of innovations

G. de Rassenfosse; A. Jaffe 

EUROPEAN ECONOMIC REVIEW. 2018. DOI : 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2017.11.005.

Are patent fees effective at weeding out low-quality patents?

G. de Rassenfosse; A. B. Jaffe 

Journal of Economics & Management Strategy. 2018. DOI : 10.1111/jems.12219.

2017

3. Patent Citation Data in Social Science Research: Overview and Best Practices

A. Jaffe; G. de Rassenfosse 

The last 2 decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of patent citation data in social science research. Facilitated by digitization of the patent data and increasing computing power, a community of practice has grown up that has developed methods for using these data to: measure attributes of innovations such as impact and originality; to trace flows of knowledge across individuals, institutions and regions; and to map innovation networks. The objective of this article is threefold. First, it takes stock of these main uses. Second, it discusses 4 pitfalls associated with patent citation data, related to office, time and technology, examiner, and strategic effects. Third, it highlights gaps in our understanding and offers directions for future research.

Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 2017. DOI : 10.1002/asi.23731.

An assessment of how well we account for intangibles

G. De Rassenfosse 

Estimates of intangible capital stock are of prime importance for accurate measurement of productivity growth. Aggregate intangible capital stock is usually estimated using the so-called Corrado-Hulten-Sichel (CHS) new growth accounting framework. Yet this framework has not received much academic scrutiny to-date. This article proposes a validity test of two intangible investment series in the CHS framework, namely "brand equity" and "architectural and engineering designs." The test involves assessing the extent to which these intangible investment series explain the demand for trademarks and design rights. The econometric analysis is performed on an unbalanced panel of 32 countries from 1980 to 2010. The results suggest that brand equity investment is a powerful predictor of trademark applications. However, investment in design activity is not correlated with the count of design rights, which I take as evidence that current methodologies do not account well for design activities.

Industrial And Corporate Change. 2017. DOI : 10.1093/icc/dtw034.

Commercialization Strategy and IPO Underpricing

S. Morricone; F. Munari; R. Oriani; G. De Rassenfosse 

This paper studies the interplay between two defining features of technology-based firms: licensing as a commercialization strategy and the reliance on equity financing. Within the context of an IPO, we argue that the technology commercialization strategy of a firm going public affects information asymmetries and, therefore, 120 underpricing. In particular, we theorize that underpricing will be higher when a firm's technology commercialization strategy is more based on licenses. We also posit that the size of the patent portfolio will mitigate this effect. Our results from a sample of 130 IPOs in the U.S. semiconductor industry confirm these predictions.

Research Policy. 2017. DOI : 10.1016/j.respol.2017.04.006.

Getting Started with PATSTAT Register

G. De Rassenfosse; M. Kracker; G. Tarasconi 

This article provides a technical introduction to the PATSTAT Register database, which contains bibliographical, procedural and legal status data on patent applications handled by the European Patent Office. It presents eight MySQL queries that cover some of the most relevant aspects of the database for research purposes. It targets academic researchers and practitioners who are familiar with the PATSTAT database and the MySQL language.

Australian Economic Review. 2017. DOI : 10.1111/1467-8462.12214.

2016

Why do patents facilitate trade in technology? Testing the disclosure and appropriation effects

G. De Rassenfosse; A. Palangkaraya; E. Webster 

Evidence suggests that patents facilitate technology transactions but the reasons for the effect are unclear. Patents may assist trade in technology by either: (i) protecting buyers against the expropriation of the idea (the 'appropriation effect'); or (ii) increasing information sharing during the negotiation phase through publication of technical details contained in the patent document (the 'disclosure effect'). We estimate the strength of both effects using exact matching analysis on a novel dataset of 860 technology transaction negotiations. We find evidence for the appropriation but not the disclosure effect. Technology transaction negotiations involving a granted patent instead of a pending patent (our test for the appropriation effect) are significantly more likely to be successfully completed. The appropriation effect is stronger in technology fields where patent protection is known to be more effective such as biotech, chemicals, drugs and medical. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Policy. 2016. DOI : 10.1016/jsespol.2016.03.017.

Venture Debt Financing: Determinants of the Lending Decision

G. De Rassenfosse; T. Fischer 

Venture debt lending is a form of start-up financing that lies at the intersection of venture capital and traditional debt. We analyze the lending decision criteria of 55 senior U.S. venture debt lenders (VDLs) using a discrete choice experiment in order to understand how VDLs overcome barriers that traditionally hamper start-ups’ access to debt. We find, first, that the provision of patents as collateral is as important as the provision of tangible assets to lenders. Second, VDLs showed a marked preference for start-ups that offered warrants. Third, venture capitalists' backing substitutes for a start-up's positive cash flows.

Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. 2016. DOI : 10.1002/sej.1220.

Pitfalls in aggregating performance measures in higher education

R. Williams; G. De Rassenfosse 

Studies in Higher Education. 2016. DOI : 10.1080/03075079.2014.914912.

2015

Rules of engagement: measuring connectivity in national systems of higher education

G. De Rassenfosse; R. Williams 

Higher Education. 2015. DOI : 10.1007/s10734-015-9881-y.

2014

On the origins of the worldwide surge in patenting: An industry perspective on the R&D-patent relationship

J. Danguy; G. de Rassenfosse; B. Van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie 

This article decomposes the R&D-patent relationship at the industry level to shed light on the sources of the worldwide surge in patent applications. The empirical analysis is based on a unique data set that includes five patent indicators computed for 18 industries in 19 countries covering the period from 1987 to 2005. The analysis shows that variations in patent applications reflect not only variations in research productivity but also variations in the appropriability and filing strategies adopted by firms. The results also suggest that the patent explosion observed in several patent offices can be attributed to the greater globalization of intellectual property rights rather than to a surge in research productivity. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Associazione ICC. All rights reserved.

Industrial and Corporate Change. 2014. DOI : 10.1093/icc/dtu042.

An Introduction to the patstat database with example queries

G. de Rassenfosse; H. Dernis; G. Boedt 

This article provides an introduction to the Patstat patent database. It offers guided examples of 10 popular queries that are relevant for research purposes and that cover the most important data tables. It is targeted at academic researchers and practitioners who are willing to learn the basics of the database. © 2014 The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

Australian Economic Review. 2014. DOI : 10.1111/1467-8462.12073.

Selection bias in innovation studies: A simple test

G. De Rassenfosse; A. Schoen; A. Wastyn 

The study of the innovative output of organizations often relies on a count of patents filed at one single office of reference such as the European Patent Office (EPO). Yet, not all organizations file their patents at the EPO, raising the specter of a selection bias. Using novel datasets of the whole population of patents by Belgian firms and German universities, we show that the single-office count results in a selection bias that affects econometric estimates of invention production functions. We propose an easy-to-implement methodology to evaluate whether estimates that rely on the single-office count are affected by a selection bias. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 2014. DOI : 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.02.012.

Pitfalls in aggregating performance measures in higher education

R. Williams; G. de Rassenfosse 

National and international rankings of universities are now an accepted part of the higher education landscape. Rankings aggregate different performance measures into a single scale and therefore depend on the methods and weights used to aggregate. The most common method is to scale each variable relative to the highest performing entity prior to aggregating. Other approaches involve transforming the data to allow for the different spread of the variables. This paper evaluates alternative methods and the sensitivity to weights with illustrations from the Times Higher Education and Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings of universities and the U21 rankings of national systems of higher education. The authors conclude that transforming the data clouds interpretation; the choice of included variables is more important than the weights attached to them; and there are limitations in extending ranking to a large number of universities/countries. © 2014 © 2014 Society for Research into Higher Education.

2014

2013

The worldwide count of priority patents: A new indicator of inventive activity

G. De Rassenfosse; H. Dernis; D. Guellec; L. Picci; B. Van Pottelsberghe De La Potterie 

This paper describes a new patent-based indicator of inventive activity. The indicator is based on counting all the priority patent applications filed by a country's inventors, regardless of the patent office in which the application is filed, and can therefore be considered as a complete 'matrix' of all patent counts. The method has the advantage of covering more inventions than the selective Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) or triadic families counts, while at the same time limiting the home-country bias of single-country-based indicators (inventors from a particular country tend to file in their own country). The indicator is particularly useful to identify emerging technologies and to assess the innovation performance of developing economies. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Research Policy. 2013. DOI : 10.1016/j.respol.2012.11.002.

Do firms face a trade-off between the quantity and the quality of their inventions?

G. De Rassenfosse 

This paper presents evidence that firms face a trade-off between the quantity and the quality of their research output. The econometric analysis uses survey data on patent applicants at the European Patent Office and addresses the identification problem caused by differences in firms' propensity to patent. The existence of a trade-off emphasizes the need to take the quality of research output into account when assessing research productivity. It also raises questions about the optimal quantity-quality mix that firms should target. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Policy. 2013. DOI : 10.1016/j.respol.2013.02.005.

The role of fees in patent systems: Theory and evidence

G. de Rassenfosse; B. van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie 

This paper reviews the economic literature on the role of fees in patent systems. Two main research questions are usually addressed: the impact of patent fees on the behavior of applicants and the question of optimal fees. Studies in the former group confirm that a range of fees affect the behavior of applicants and suggest that a patent is an inelastic good. Studies in the latter group provide grounds for both low and high application (or pre-grant) fees and renewal (or post-grant) fees, depending on the structural context and policy objectives. The paper also presents new stylized facts on patent fees of 30 patent offices worldwide. It is shown that application fees are generally lower than renewal fees, and renewal fees increase more than proportionally with patent age. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Journal of Economic Surveys. 2013. DOI : 10.1111/j.1467-6419.2011.00712.x.

The determinants of quality national higher education systems

R. Williams; G. de Rassenfosse; P. Jensen; S. Marginson 

This paper evaluates the performance of national higher education systems in 48 countries as measured with 20 variables grouped under the four headings of Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output. Rankings within each module are then combined into an overall ranking that is topped by the United States followed by Sweden, Canada, Finland and Denmark. Relationships between different attributes are explored. Countries ranked highest on output tend to be ranked highly on resources. Research output is correlated with government funding, especially expenditure on research and development (R&D). The impact of the policy and regulatory environment is also examined. The weakest national systems are those with low government funding but high government control. © 2013 © Association for Tertiary Education Management and the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Education Leadership and Management.

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. 2013. DOI : 10.1080/1360080X.2013.854288.

2012

On the price elasticity of demand for patents

G. de Rassenfosse; B. van Pottelsberghe de La Potterie 

This paper provides an analysis of the impact of patent fees on the demand for patents. It presents a dataset of fees since 1980 at the European (EPO), the US and the Japanese patent offices. Descriptive statistics show that fees have severely decreased at the EPO over the 1990s, converging towards the level of fees in the US and Japan. The estimation of dynamic panel data models suggests that the price elasticity of demand for patents is about -0.30. These results suggest that the laxity of fee policy at the EPO has significantly contributed to the rising propensity to patent. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd and the Department of Economics, University of Oxford, 2011.

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics. 2012. DOI : 10.1111/j.1468-0084.2011.00638.x.

How SMEs exploit their intellectual property assets: Evidence from survey data

G. de Rassenfosse 

This paper seeks to understand how motives to patent affect the use of the patent portfolio with a particular focus on motives aimed at the monetization of intellectual property. The analysis relies on data from an international survey conducted by the European Patent Office. There are three main results. First, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) exhibit a much stronger reliance on 'monetary patents' than large companies and nearly half of the SMEs in the sample patent for monetary reasons. Second, SMEs tend to use their patents more actively than large firms. Third, smaller companies generally have a higher proportion of their portfolio that is licensed, but the licensing rate is significantly higher in the USA. An American SME is twice as likely as a European SME to have a high share of its portfolio that is actually licensed, witnessing a fragmented market for technology in Europe. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Small Business Economics. 2012. DOI : 10.1007/s11187-010-9313-4.

2009

A policy insight into the R&D-patent relationship

G. de Rassenfosse; B. van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie 

Contrary to an accepted wisdom, this paper shows that cross-country variations in the number of patents per researcher do not only reflect differences in the propensity to patent but also signals differences in research productivity. We put forward and test an empirical model that formally accounts for the productivity and the propensity component of the R&D-patent relationship. The two components play an important role, as witnessed by the impact of several policies, including education, intellectual property and science and technology policies. Indicators based on domestic priority filings reflect research efforts and are primarily affected by varying propensities to patent. In contrast, international filings, especially triadic patents, rather capture variations in research productivity. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Policy. 2009. DOI : 10.1016/j.respol.2008.12.013.

2008

Policymakers and the R&D-patent relationship

B. van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie; G. de Rassenfosse 

Patent-based indicators at the country level are frequently used to assess countries' innovation performances or efforts. Yet they are often said to reflect the propensity to patent rather than actual research productivity. The authors of this article argue that patent-based indicators can rightfully be used to measure research productivity, as witnessed by the influence of several policy tools on the R&D-patent relationship. They also put forward a new counting methodology, less subject to "home" bias. © Springer-Verlag 2008.

Intereconomics. 2008. DOI : 10.1007/s10272-008-0271-x.

2007

Per un pugno di dollari: A first look at the price elasticity of patents

G. de Rassenfosse; B. van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie 

This paper analyses the role of patent-filing fees requested by the member states of the European Patent Convention (EPC). We provide first empirical evidence showing that the fee elasticity of the demand for priority applications is negative and significant. Given the strong variation in absolute fees and in fees per capita across countries, this result indicates a suboptimal treatment of inventors across European countries and suggests that fees should be considered as an integral part of an intellectual property policy, especially in the current context of worrying backlogs. In addition, we show that the transfer rate of domestic priority filings to the European Patent Office (EPO) increases with the duration of membership to the EPO and the GDP per capita of a country, suggesting that member states experience a learning curve within the EPC. The high heterogeneity in the transfer rates casts some doubts on the practice that consists in relying on filings at the EPO or at the United States Patent and Trademark Office to assess the innovative performance of countries. © The Authors 2007. Published by Oxford University Press.

Oxford Review of Economic Policy. 2007. DOI : 10.1093/oxrep/grm032.