Chapter 6 What explains fluctuations in patenting frequency and propensity?
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Internationalization of patenting routes and patenting work in MNCs and decrease of incoming patent applications for PTOs in small countries despite the overall patenting surge during the pro-patent era. The annual turnover of applicants was very high, partly due to annual fluctuations in patenting frequency at company and individual level, depending in turn on the flow of patentable resources. The decrease in national applications in Sweden in the early 2000s also varied across technologies with a particular downturn in the ICT area, partly due to the IT bubble burst. Changes in R & D and patenting resources were important internal determinants behind both upward and downward changes in patenting frequency for both large and small companies. A strategy change from quantity-oriented patenting during the 1990s to more selective and quality-oriented patenting also decreased patenting propensity as did a decreased supply of venture capital for SMEs. Finally, Sweden has during 1996–2014 maintained a fairly steady rank as about number 11 among nations regarding patenting frequency in the US, while the Asian countries S. Korea, Taiwan, India and especially China have made rapid climbs on that ladder, joining Japan on the highest ten rungs.

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