This definition of ‘feature’ is my own, elaborating slightly on the definition provided by the American Heritage Dictionary. I use the term ‘feature’ more generally than ‘component,’ a term I use that would require some physical part of an invention.
For related discussion on efficiencies in experimentation, see Thomke (1998).
A subset of literature-based discovery methods includes lexical statistical analysis (Lindsay and Gordon 1999), latent semantic indexing (Gordon and Dumais 1998; Landauer et al. 1998), and association rule mining (Hristovski et al. 2001). For an evaluative review, see Yetisgen-Yildiz and Pratt (2008).
The previous four paragraphs address the reference to a patent's backward citations in representing the content or derivation of that patent. Of course, one must also consider that not all commercialized or commercializable inventions or innovations are patented, since there exist other appropriation mechanisms—like secrecy or lead time—that industries will differentially use instead (e.g., Levin et al. 1987).
Those methods of determining relatedness that involve measuring patterns of exchange between industries (Burt 1988; Burt and Carlton 1989; Gollop and Monahan 1991; Lemelin 1982), or indices measuring entropy and concentration (i.e., Palepu 1985; Rumelt 1974) are unique to the diversification literature and have little relevance in my context.
The breakdown of these inventions, by category and subcategory as defined by the patent database, is available from the author upon request.
Patents citing only one patent are arguably different in nature from those that make two or more citations (c.f. Fleming and Sorenson 2001). During sample selection (described later), patents citing only one patent will be dropped.
I derived these different types of connections and citation chains. To the best of my knowledge, such a categorization of connections is not extant in the literature.
Linkage bibliographic data (e.g., Brusoni et al. 2005; Callaert et al. 2006; Carpenter and Narin 1983; Meyer 2002; Narin and Noma 1985; Ribeiro et al. 2010; Tijssen et al. 2000)—comprising of patent citations made to the scientific literature and representing the dynamics of the interaction of science and technology (Pavitt 1985; Schmoch 1993, 1997)—are omitted. We are interested here in examining the relatedness of technological features only, not scientific phenomena. And the degree to which scientific literature is cited within patents has been shown to vary by field (e.g., Iversen 2000; Park and Kang 2009; Tamada et al. 2006; Van Looy et al. 2003; Verbeek et al. 2003), which will be controlled in the empirical analysis. We address limitations in the Discussion section.
Another kind of time-related control variable was considered: the variance in the grant dates of backward citations. According to theory and empirical evidence described by Nerkar (2003), a patented invention would be more valuable if its features derived from a wider range of time, due to the benefits of both temporal exploitation and temporal exploration. I would argue that much of the explanatory power contained in such a variance-oriented variable is already captured in my citation chain frequency statistics: insofar that the rate at which a feature invention is directly cited diminishes over time (because its limited direct uses are being tapped), there would naturally be fewer citation chains between a feature pair when its underlying features are granted farther apart in time.
This paper derives from my dissertation. I wish to thank Sergio Lazzarini, and also my committee at Washington University's Olin School of Business (especially Todd Zenger and Jackson Nickerson) for suggestions and comments on prior versions. All errors remain mine.
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.
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B Van Looy Zimmermann, E , Veugelers, R , Verbeek, A , Mello, J Debackere, K 2003 Do science-technology interactions pay off when developing technology? An exploratory investigation of 10 science-intensive technology domains. 57 3 355– 367 10.1023/A:1025052617678.
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