Sources of inventive activity and the IPR system: An empirical analysis of a changing relationship in a small open economy (Norway)
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Original versionIversen, E. J. (2010). Sources of inventive activity and the IPR system: An empirical analysis of a changing relationship in a small open economy (Norway) (Doktoravhandling). University of Tasmania, Tasmania.
This thesis examines and analyzes changing patterns of IPR use (particularly patenting) in the specific context of a national system of innovation (Norway). Norway has, like many other OECD countries, seen a significant expansion of IPR usage during the past two decades. The increase in patenting in particular is a defining feature of the contemporary innovation landscape, as are related policy efforts to promote wider IPR use. (e.g. among SMES, service sector, academic research) This has led to a shift in the variety of actors who patent and to an increase in overall patent applications. In turn the rationale for patenting is also evolving. Several factors are thus contributing to a shift in how patents are used, by whom and why. This change has potentially important implications for the innovation system and the wider economy: it can affect the orientation of knowledge accumulation over time; it can condition the way new knowledge is utilized; and, thereby, it can influence pathways for industrial development. However, several challenges have impeded comprehensive analysis of who uses IPR over time and why. The contribution of the thesis to the theoretical and empirical understanding of IPR-use is structured in six stand-alone chapters. The first applies a systems-approach to examine the role IPRs play in the wider innovation system. This analysis links the role and position of the patent system particularly to underlying industrial dynamics and points to changing areas of use, e.g. to promote collaboration. A set of empirically-oriented articles follows and expands on themes introduced here. The empirical chapters all use new or adapted empirical approaches to examine aspects of IPR use that are important both to theoretical discourse and to current innovation policy. The first examines diversification of innovation activity in Norway using unique firm-level IPR data. (1994-2003) IPR growth is found to be driven more by smaller firms—especially in knowledge intensive services—than traditional IPR-holders (large manufacturers). Two chapters then focus on SME patenting, at home—in the lead up to the IT bubble, and in Europe—in the lead up to Norwegian membership in the EPC. A co-authored article then examines academic patenting, which recent legislation was introduced to promote. It shows that public sector researchers played a substantial but field-dependent role in patenting before legislation. The final chapter rounds off by examining patent-based collaboration, where patenting increases rather than decreases the odds of research collaboration.