SUMA ATHREYE is Professor in International Strategy at Brunel Business School and is a member of the Strategy, Entrepreneurship and International Business Group.
Suma’s main research interests lie in the fields of International Economics and the Economics of Innovation and she has won several research grants for work in these areas. She has published over 50 papers on these subjects and is on the Editorial Board of Research Policy, Journal of International Business Studies and Industrial and Corporate Change. She has consulted to the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the UK Intellectual Property Office and was also Rapporteur of the European Research Area (2008) report Opening to the world: International cooperation in Science and Technology.
Small firms and patenting revisited. Research Paper No 85
Published: 21 February 2020
In order to observe a patent application at the firm level two conditions need to be met: new products need to be of patentable quality, which depends both on the degree of novelty of innovations and on the total number (portfolio) of innovations; and the benefits of patents need to be higher than the costs of owning them. Analyzing the patent propensity of small and large UK firms using a novel innovation-level survey (the SIPU survey) linked to Community Innovation Survey data we find that when we consider the whole innovation portfolio smaller firms do patent less than larger firms. However, using data on individual innovations, we find that smaller firms are no less likely to patent any specific innovation than larger firms. We argue that size differences in the probability to patent relate primarily to the ‘portfolio effect’, i.e. larger firms generate more innovations than smaller firms and therefore are more likely to create one or more which are patentable. As for the decision to patent a patentable innovation, we find that cost barriers, more than issues of innovation quality or enforceability, deter small firms from patenting specific innovations. Measures to address the costs of patenting for smaller firms – perhaps by considering patents as eligible costs for R&D tax credits – and/or subsidizing SMEs’ participation in IP litigation schemes may both encourage patent use by smaller firms.
The market for Technology Licensing in the UK. Research Paper No 43.
Published: 10 May 2016
The social benefit of a patent system lies in its ability to underpin the circulation of technology in the economy through technology licensing and in facilitating the growth of technology markets. This evidence brief considers the main dimensions of the technology licensing market in the UK, drawing on expenditure data from the Community Innovation Survey in order say more about the characteristics of buyers in the market. This is an area which remains relatively under explored and can provide a useful basis upon which to develop effective policy. We estimate the size of the technology licensing market, highlight the temporary nature of licensing expenditure and explore the participation of firms. We find small firms are more frequent purchasers of technology licensing but large firms account for the larger shares of spending. Similarly, R&D services firms are large buyers of technology licenses and dominate spending in the technology licensing. We also find the participation of innovative firms dominates that by non-innovative firms.