NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Linguistic Metrics for Patent Disclosure: Evidence from University Versus Corporate Patents

Nancy Kong, Uwe Dulleck, Adam B. Jaffe, Shupeng Sun, Sowmya Vajjala

NBER Working Paper No. 27803
Issued in September 2020
NBER Program(s):Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

This paper proposes a novel approach to measure disclosure in patent applications using algorithms from computational linguistics. Borrowing methods from the literature on second language acquisition, we analyze core linguistic features of 40,949 U.S. applications in three patent categories related to nanotechnology, batteries, and electricity from 2000 to 2019. Relying on the expectation that universities have more incentives to disclose their inventions than corporations for either incentive reasons or for different source documents that patent attorneys can draw on, we confirm the relevance and usefulness of the linguistic measures by showing that university patents are more readable. Combining the multiple measures using principal component analysis, we find that the gap in disclosure is 0.4 SD, with a wider gap between top applicants. Our results do not change after accounting for the heterogeneity of inventions by controlling for cited-patent fixed effects. We also explore whether one pathway by which corporate patents become less readable is use of multiple examples to mask the “best mode” of inventions. By confirming that computational linguistic measures are useful indicators of readability of patents, we suggest that the disclosure function of patents can be explored empirically in a way that has not previously been feasible.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27803

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us