Cross-country evidence of the influence of patent innovation team’s size and experience on patent quality

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Taloustieteen laitos
Degree programme
64 + 11
In the last few decades, team research and team innovation has become increasingly popular and shows a continuing trend of getting even more popular. Currently, a lot of academic research is conducted by teams of researchers instead of solo researchers. The same trend has been seen in patent innovations where the mean team sizes of innovators in patent innovations are increasing. I study implications of effects that patent innovation teams and solo patent innovators have on the filed patent’s patent quality. I use the patent database provided by the OECD and the European Patent Office, to study if larger team sizes produce better patents than smaller teams or solo innovators. Switzerland, Sweden and the whole database are used as separate samples and the results are compared to the results from a previous study conducted with Finnish data. I use the patent quality indicators provided by the database. I observe that larger innovator teams do indeed predict higher quality patents. However, when studied in per innovator level the contribution is diminishing and decreasing returns to scale are observed in all the results. These findings are in line with the previous study. Additionally, I study the relation of team’s experience from previously filed patents to patent quality and mainly find a positive association with team experience and patent quality. Having at least one more experienced team member is already associated with higher quality patent. A surprising finding is that in Switzerland and in the results of the whole database, the more experienced teams were found to be associated with more technologically narrowly focused patents. This would indicate the teams with more experienced innovators to work and specialise in patent projects focusing on a smaller number of technology fields than the inexperienced teams. The team experience results give the first indications to how the team work could be organized to get more successful patent innovation results. The results imply that the prevailing trend of team innovation may lead to inefficiencies and innovation resource losses. Economic theories currently lack the understanding of how to organize innovation activities efficiently in an innovation level. This study provides empirical evidence to build a better understanding in organizing the patent innovation work at the innovator team level.
Thesis advisor
Toivanen, Otto
patent quality, team size, team experience, econometric study, patents, innovation
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