OECD Patent Statistics Manual

OECD Patent Statistics Manual

Patent data are an outstanding resource for the study of technical change. Alongside other science and technology (S&T) indicators such as R&D expenditure and personnel or innovation-survey data, patent data provide a uniquely detailed source of information on inventive activity and the multiple dimensions of the inventive process (e.g. geographical location, technical and institutional origin, individuals and networks). Furthermore, patent data form a consistent basis for comparisons across time and across countries. Yet such data are complex, and patent-based indicators must be designed and interpreted carefully.

This manual provides guiding principles for the use of patent data in S&T measurement, and recommendations for the compilation and interpretation of patent indicators in this context. It aims to show what patent statistics can be used for, what they cannot be used for, and how to count patents in order to maximise information on S&T activities while minimising statistical noise and biases. Finally, it describes how patent data can be used in the analysis of a wide array of topics related to technical change and patenting activity including industry-science linkages, patenting strategies by companies, internationalisation of research, and indicators on the value of patents.


Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. Objectives and Scope of the Manual
  • Chapter 2. Patents as Statistical Indicators of Science and Technology
  • Introduction | Legal foundations of patents | Administrative routes for protection | Economic foundations of patents | The information content of patent documents | Patents as statistical indicators of inventive activity | Patent databases | Topics of investigation 
  • Chapter 3. Patent Systems and Procedures
  • Introduction | The core patenting procedure | National and regional procedures | International patent applications 
  • Chapter 4. Basic Criteria for Compiling Patent-Based Indicators
  • Introduction | Reference date | Reference country | PCT applications | Patent families | Normalised country-level patent indicators
  • Chapter 5. Classifying Patents by Different Criteria
  • Introduction | Technology fields | Industry classification | Regional classification | Institutional sectors | Patents by companies | Patents by inventors
  • Chapter 6. The Use and Analysis of Citations in Patents
  • Introduction | What are citations? | Uses and applications of citations indicators | Citation practices in patent offices | Citation-based indicators | Non-patent literature | Other indicators based citation categories (EPO and PCT search reports)
  • Chapter 7. Indicators of Internationalisation of Science and Technology
  • Introduction | Indicators | Ownership and research strategies
  • Chapter 8. Indicators of Patent Value
    Introduction | Forward citations | Indicators based on procedural information and applicants’ behaviour | Other indicators
  • Glossary