K.U.Leuven - Faculty of Economics and Applied Economics
DTEW - MSI_0605 pages:1-88
Patent documents are one of the most comprehensive data sources on technology development. As such, they provide a unique source of information to analyze and monitor technological performance. Patent indicators are now used by companies and by policy and government agencies alike to assess technological progress on the level of regions, countries, domains, and even specific entities such as companies, universities and individual inventors. In this paper, we develop a comprehensive method to achieve harmonization of patentee names in an automated way so that analysis at the level of patentees can be facilitated. The method has been applied to an extensive set of all patentee names found for all EPO patent applications published between 1978 and 2004 and all granted USPTO patents published between 1991 and 2003. As completeness (the extent to which the name-harmonization procedure is able to capture all name variants of the same patentee ) and accuracy (the extent to which the name-harmonization procedure correctly allocates name variants to a single, harmonized patentee name ) do not go hand in hand, priority has been given to accuracy. Before discussing in detail the methodology and its effects as applied to the EPO and USPTO patentee name list, we will first clarify the difference between patentee name harmonization and legal entity identification. In addition, we will briefly expand on the methods and approaches previously developed to address the issue of patentee name harmonization, in order to shed light on our specific contribution. Finally, future refinements and extensions are discussed.