Knowledge flows from business method software patents: influence of firms’ global social networks
- 128 Downloads
Using patent citations as an indicator of knowledge flows, this paper examines the effects of firms’ global patent social networks on knowledge flows from business method software patents. Patent social networks are considered along several dimensions, including relative centrality, structural equivalence and brokerage roles. Identifying 19,385 software patents applications to the USPTO by 37 countries during 1995–2012, results show that firms positioned with a relative centrality or situated within the same structural equivalent cluster have more citations to their counterpart firms’ patents. Further, among the different brokerage roles, we find positive promotion to knowledge transfer when the citing and cited firms both serve the role of an itinerant as well as that of a gatekeeper/representative, while firms that act as gatekeeper/representative (alone) cite less patents from firms that do not enact this kind of a role. These unique insights provide a better understanding of channels of knowledge transmission and have implications for the pace of technological change.
KeywordsBusiness method patents Relative centrality Structural equivalence Brokerage roles Joint patent application Patent citations Knowledge flows Social networks
JEL ClassificationL14 L86 O33 M15
We would like to thank Al Link for numerous useful comments and suggestions.
- Burt, R. S. (1992). Structural holes: The social structure of competition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- CHSRF. (2003). The theory and practice of knowledge brokering in Canada’s Health System. Canadian Health Services Research Foundation Report. Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, December, http://www.cfhi-fcass.ca/migrated/pdf/Theory_and_Practice_e.pdf.
- Clarkson, G. (2005). Objective identification of patent thickets. University of Michigan Law School Working Paper 1–32.Google Scholar
- Cummings, J. N., & Cross, R. (2003). Structural properties of work groups and their consequences for performance. Social Networks, 25, 197–210.Google Scholar
- De Prato, G., & Nepelski, D. (2014). Global technological collaboration network: Network analysis of international co-inventions. Journal of Technology Transfer, 39, 358–375.Google Scholar
- Goel, R. K. (1992). On vertical integration into R&D. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 32, 54–59.Google Scholar
- Goel, R. K. (1999). Economic models of technological change. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.Google Scholar
- Goel, R. K., & Brown, M. A. (1991). Commercializing government—Sponsored computer software. In J. A. Morell & M. Fleischer (Eds.), Advances in the implementation and impact of computer systems (Vol. 1, pp. 267–279). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
- Goel, R. K., & Saunoris, J. W. (2017). Dynamics of knowledge spillovers from patents to entrepreneurship: Evidence across entrepreneurship types. Contemporary Economic Policy, 35, 700–715.Google Scholar
- Jaffe, A. B., & Trajtenberg, M. (2002). Patents, citations, and innovations. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- La Belle, M. M., & Schooner, H. M. (2014). Big banks and business method patents. University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, 16, 431–495.Google Scholar
- Minns, S. E. (2014). Innovation, firm strategy and patent litigation. Ph.D. Thesis, University of British Columbia.Google Scholar
- Seaman, C., McQuaid, R., & Pearson, M. (2017). Social networking in family businesses in a local economy. Local Economy, 32, 451–466.Google Scholar
- Williamson, O. E. (1975). Markets and hierarchies. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar