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Global markets for technology: Evidence from patent transactions

DeMarco, A, Scellato, G, Ughetto, E and F Caviggioli (2017). Global markets for technology: Evidence from patent transactions, Research Policy, 46(9): 1644-1654.

The paper analyses the recent evolution of international markets for technology by examining changes in ownership of US granted patents. We study the effects of the geographical origin of patents, proxied by their first priority country, on the probability of patents being traded, on the timing of the transaction and on the probability of observing a cross-border transaction, while controlling for the characteristics of the patents, the time and sector specificities. 

The analyses are based on a comprehensive dataset that covers all the patents granted by the USPTO over the 2002-2012 period. The data from the US patent reassignment database have been cleaned and processed, and a subset of 95,542 granted patents that have been traded has been identified. We obtain evidence from survival models that there has been an increase in the rate of patent transactions in recent years. The obtained results indicate that patents with a first non-US original applicant have less probability of being traded and show a longer time to transaction than US first priority patents. We also find that more science-based patents, which are usually characterized by a higher technological uncertainty, are more likely to be traded, but are much less likely to be involved in cross-border deals.

The results are discussed in light of the impact of asymmetric information and search costs on international patent transactions.

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