, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 1–22 | Cite as

Factors affecting the diffusion of patented military technology in the field of weapons and ammunition

  • Manuel Acosta
  • Daniel Coronado
  • Rosario Marín
  • Pedro Prats


In this paper, we carry out an empirical analysis to address some questions concerning the flow of knowledge stemming from military patented technologies. Patented military technology consists of a set of inventions which nature, uses or/and applications have defensive or offensive purposes. In this paper, we focus on the field of weapons and ammunition. Our objective is to identify, why the knowledge embedded in a military technology diffuses into other patented technologies. The methodology relies on a patent citations analysis and involves the specification of several multilevel logit models to identify the individual and country characteristics that determine the citation of military patents in subsequent patents. The data contain 1,756 citations to 582 patents of military origin with a simultaneous Europe–US protection and registered by companies/institutions from 1998 to 2003. The results reveal that military knowledge diffuses more intensively across civil patents, when the original military patent includes diverse technologies (civil and military) and is progressively less specific in terms of weapons and ammunition. Military patents filed by British, French, US, Japanese and German companies are, in this order, more likely to have a larger number of citations in subsequent civil patents. The ownership of the original military patent is not a determining factor for explaining the diffusion into civil patents, but it does influence the diffusion across mixed and military technologies. Finally, the technological capacity of the citing company also affects the type and intensity of the diffusion of the military knowledge.


Technology diffusion Forward patent citations Military technology Military patents Weapons and ammunition 

JEL Classification

O33 O34 L64 



The authors highly appreciate the helpful comments of the anonymous Reviewer, which significantly contributed to improving the clarity and quality of the paper. We are also grateful for the financial assistance provided by Junta de Andalucía, Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa (P08-SEJ-03981) and the ISDEFE-IEB Chair of Markets and Industrial Policy (ISDEFE is Ingeniería de Sistemas para la Defensa de España, S.A. and IEB is Institut d’Economia de Barcelona).


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel Acosta
    • 1
  • Daniel Coronado
    • 1
  • Rosario Marín
    • 1
  • Pedro Prats
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Economía General, Facultad CC.EE. y EmpresarialesUniversity of CádizCádizSpain

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