, Volume 95, Issue 2, pp 731-752
Date: 08 Feb 2013

Do references in transferred patent documents signal learning opportunities for the receiving firms?

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


In this study, we empirically investigate the role of references in patents in a firm’s technological learning and innovation when the patents are transferred (i.e., technology licensing activities) to these firms. This study is based on a sample of 68 Chinese high-tech firms that engaged in patent technology licensing while using a matching sample of non-licensee firms, and it examines covered patents in licensee agreements that were originally registered in the European Patent Office between 2000 and 2005. Empirical results indicate that the reference scope (defined as the number of different patent classes—classes that the examined patent does not belong to—in the backward citations) and the time lag of the backward citations each has a positive effect and a negative effect on the licensee firms’ innovation outcomes respectively, measured as the number of Chinese patent applications during the 5 years after the licensing year. However, it failed to find a positive effect of the science-based citations (defined as backward citations to journal articles) as we predicted.