The Worldwide Count of Priority Patents: A New Indicator of Inventive Activity

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 23/12

Date: October 2012


Gaétan de Rassenfosse
Hélène Dernis
Dominique Guellec
Lucio Picci
Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie


This paper describes a new patent-based indicator of inventive activity. The indicator is based on counting all the priority patent applications filed by a country’s inventors, regardless of the patent office in which the application is filed, and can therefore be considered as a complete ‘matrix’ of all patent counts. The method has the advantage of covering more inventions than the selective Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) or triadic families counts, while at the same time limiting the home-country bias of single-country-based indicators (inventors from a particular country tend to file in their own country). The indicator is particularly useful to identify emerging technologies and to assess the innovation performance of developing economies.

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