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Evidence from Patents and Patent Citations on the Impact of NASA and Other Federal Labs on Commercial Innovation

Adam Jaffe (), Michael S Fogarty and Bruce A Banks

Journal of Industrial Economics, 1998, vol. 46, issue 2, 183-205

Abstract: Federal lab commercialization is explored (1) by analyzing U.S. government patents and (2) in a qualitative analysis of one NASA lab's patents. Tests apply to three distinct sets of patents, l963-94: NASA, all other U.S. government, and a random sample of all U.S. inventors' patents. The federal patenting rate plummeted in the 1970s. Consistent with increasing commercialization, both NASA's and other federal agencies' rates recovered in the 1980s. The case study finds citations to be a valid, but noisy, measure of technology spillovers. Excluding 'spurious' cites, two-thirds of cites to patents of NASA-Lewis' Electro-Physics Branch were evaluated as involving spillovers. Copyright 1998 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Date: 1998
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