Inventors’ mobility in Mexico in the context of globalization


Talent, technology, and the presence of supportive environments are key factors in producing knowledge and innovation. In this era of globalization, the knowledge economy is supported by knowledge mobility. Migration, brain drain, brain circulation, diasporas are frameworks to analyze knowledge mobility. Previous studies have shown that globalization has been accompanied by an important rise in the mobility of highly skilled human capital. This paper explores inventors’ mobility through an analysis of patents. In Mexico, the number of granted patents to Mexican residents at the United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been diminishing, in absolute and relative terms, and the number of Mexican inventors in USPTO patents granted to non-Mexican assignees has been greatly increasing. The aim of this paper is to describe the mobility of Mexican inventors from 1976 until 2016. This exploratory and descriptive study is organized in two phases: firstly, the integration of a database of Mexican inventors in granted patents whose assignees are non-Mexicans, and secondly the identification of prolific Mexican inventors (with more than five granted patents) as well as inventors with recently issued patents. Preliminary findings show that after 1994, when Mexico joined NAFTA, the flow of Mexican inventors to multinational companies has increased.

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  1. 1.

    The USPTO is one of the most important patent authorities. Each year, more than 100,000 patents are granted to companies, universities (called academic patents) and R & D institutions around the world. In the last decade, half of the patents granted have been issued to companies, universities, government agencies and R & D institutions in the United States. The other half is given to the same type of agents but from different countries. Mexico participates with less than half a percentage point of the total.

  2. 2.

    See on February 12, 2017. This article published in August 2009 by Endeavor reports that the company has 26 Patents, 200 more in process and has 150 employees. It also notes that half of the patents have been produced in Mexico.


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Correspondence to Jaime Aboites.

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Aboites, J., Díaz, C. Inventors’ mobility in Mexico in the context of globalization. Scientometrics 115, 1443–1461 (2018).

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  • Inventors mobility
  • Globalization
  • Granted patents
  • Mexican inventors