6. Inventions across borders

International co-inventions in ICT, 2012-15
As a percentage of economies’ IP5 patent families
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Source: OECD, STI Micro-data Lab: Intellectual Property Database, http://oe.cd/ipstats, June 2017. StatLink contains more data. See chapter notes.

 http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933619011

Did you know?

More than 70% of ICT patents owned by companies in the Bermuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands and Virgin British Islands are invented abroad.

Inventions often stem from collaborations within and across economies, as diversity boosts creativity and innovation. Information contained in patented inventions about the economy where owners and inventors reside helps to shed light on cross-country collaborations in innovation. It also shows the extent to which innovators are accessing knowledge in other economies to find the competencies and skills that best meet their needs.

With the exception of health-related technologies, international collaboration among inventors has increased across all technology fields, especially so in the case of ICT-related patents. International co-inventions are more common in ICT than in other technology fields, and account for one-third or more of all ICT patents in economies like the Czech Republic or Malaysia.

Furthermore, with few exceptions (notably China) ICT-patented inventions rely, on average, on inventors located in a relatively larger number of economies. This implies that ICT companies generally access knowledge from a larger number of economies, compared to the knowledge-sourcing strategies pursued in other fields.

Inventorship and ownership of patented ICT inventions are often decoupled, generally more so than in other technology areas – on average, 7.6% for ICT compared to 6.4% across all technologies. In OECD economies, the share of owned foreign ICT inventions varies between 57% (Luxembourg) and 0.6% (Italy).

Definitions

IP5 patent families are patents within the Five IP offices (IP5). International co-inventions are IP5 patent families featuring at least one foreign co-inventor. Shares are calculated by dividing the number of international co-inventions by the total number of IP5 patent families invented domestically, by field. The number of economies in which inventors are located is an indicator based on the average number of economies in which inventors of IP5 patent families owned by residents of an economy are located. Foreign inventions owned by economies relate to the share of IP5 patent families owned by a resident of an economy for which no inventors reside in the given economy, as a share of total IP5 patent families owned by that economy. Patents in ICT are identified using the International Patent Classification (IPC) codes (see Inaba and Squicciarini, 2017) and align with the OECD definitions of the ICT sector (2007) and of ICT products (2008).

Number of economies in which inventors are located, by technology, 2012-15
Average across technologies, IP5 patent families, by residence of the patent owner
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Source: OECD, STI Micro-data Lab: Intellectual Property Database, http://oe.cd/ipstats, June 2017. StatLink contains more data. See chapter notes.

 http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933619030

Domestic ownership of ICT inventions from abroad, 2012-15
As a percentage of economies’ total IP5 patent families
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Source: OECD, STI Micro-data Lab: Intellectual Property Database, http://oe.cd/ipstats, June 2017. StatLink contains more data. See chapter notes.

 http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933619049

Measurability

Collaborations may take a variety of forms including international co-inventions involving several firms, both small and large, joint research ventures by private and public entities (e.g. firms and universities or public research organisations), and formal and informal networks of scientists. In the case of multinational corporations, international collaboration often reflects a process whereby companies rely on research and innovation facilities located in several economies to draw upon geographically dispersed knowledge and/or develop complementarities with foreign inventors. The degree to which inventors collaborate internationally may be shaped by a wide array of factors including the structure of the company or institution they belong to, the technology domain of the inventions, as well as language or cultural proximity. ICT patents encompass 13 areas defined according to the specific technical features and functions they accomplish (e.g. mobile communication, high-speed network, high-speed computing and large-capacity information analysis). As most inventions are only protected in certain economies, using data from different patent offices may lead to different results.