Quality & Quantity

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 1325–1343 | Cite as

Measuring the dynamics of an innovation system using patent data: a case study of South Korea, 2001–2010

  • Pieter E. Stek
  • Marina S. van GeenhuizenEmail author


The Korean innovation system is analyzed based on patenting and co-patenting behavior between different knowledge producers (university, government, small- and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), conglomerates, individuals) in 34 different technologies. Patent data is obtained from the Korean Intellectual Property Office for the years 2001–2010. The traditional Triple Helix model of university-industry-government relations is expanded to include additional knowledge producers. The results indicate that the Korean innovation system has become less balanced in terms of technology: patent output has tended to grow rapidly in areas in which Korea is already strong. But the innovation system has become more balanced in terms of knowledge producers: SMEs, universities and individuals are being assigned an increasing number of patents. University patenting has grown most rapidly, especially in fast-growing technologies, in which university-business co-patenting is most prevalent. This suggests that rising public investment in university research is paying off, and that university research is industry-relevant. The data also reveal some unexpected changes: patenting by conglomerates rapidly rose from 2001, peaking in 2005, and then fell. Patenting by individuals has continued to rise throughout the period being studied.


Triple Helix Innovation South Korea Patents  University-industry collaboration 



The authors wish to thank the session chair and audience during the Daegu-Gyeongbuk International Social Network Conference (DISC) 2013 for their valuable comments on a presentation that preceded this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Technology, Policy and ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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