, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 2303–2327 | Cite as

Knowledge creation and dissemination by Kosetsushi in sectoral innovation systems: insights from patent data

  • Nobuya FukugawaEmail author


Public institutes for testing and research called Kosetsushi constitute an important component of regional innovation policies in Japan. They are organized as a technology diffusion program to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve productivity through various technology transfer activities. Using comprehensive patent data, this study quantitatively evaluates technology transfer activities of Kosetsushi from the perspective of sectoral innovation systems. The key findings can be summarized as follows. First, local SMEs’ technological portfolios (the distribution of patents across technological fields) indicate a better fit with those of Kosetsushi than with those of local universities. This tendency is salient for manufacturing Kosetsushi. Second, Kosetsushi collaborate on research with local SMEs compared to local universities. This tendency is salient for manufacturing Kosetsushi. Third, in regions where SMEs’ innovative activities concentrate in biotechnology, Kosetsushi are likely to engage in licensing. In regions where SMEs’ innovative activities concentrate in mechanical engineering, Kosetsushi are likely to engage in technical consultation. Fourth, the successful commercialization of Kosetsushi patents relies on both understanding of technological needs of local SMEs and upgrading scientific quality of Kosetsushi researchers. Policy and research implications are discussed.


Innovation Intermediaries Japan Patents Sectoral innovation systems SMEs Technology transfer 

JEL Classification

D83 L26 M13 O31 O32 O33 



The author would like to thank the anonymous referees for their comments and suggestions. The usual caveats apply. This study was conducted as a part of the research project “The Role of Public Research Institutions in the Japan’s National Innovation System” at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI). This article is based on the RIETI Discussion Paper 16-E-061. The author would like to thank project members, with a special mention to Akira Goto, Jun Suzuki, Naotoshi Tsukada, Isamu Yamauchi, and Patarapong Intarakumnerd for their collaboration. This study was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (15K03411).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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