Knowledge flows from business method software patents: influence of firms’ global social networks
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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.
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