Small Serial Innovators: The Small Firm Contribution To Technical Change
In February 2003, CHI Research, Inc. published a report for the United States Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy titled Small Serial Innovators: The Small Firm Contribution To Technical Change.
- The study repeatedly conflates patents with innovation. The two are not necessarily linked, and for software, where the quality of patents is particularly bad, this is a sure mistake.
 Patents less important in software
There are a few places where innovation is important but patent protection is less so, and software is the classic example. However, patenting is becoming more important in software, and software firms are well represented here. There are 25 firms in prepackaged software, which is the 6th most frequent primary SIC among the firms. Large patenting software firms include: Adobe, Borland, Microsoft, Sybase and Symantec.
Page 13 (3rd last paragraph)
(Can you help? What's SIC?)
 Rate of patenting by small firms
The study found that small firms produced 0.75 patents per employee, but the discard this figure because a few tiny companies hold an extraordinary number of patent which are surely developed elsewhere. By excluding the 9 companies which had fewer than 5 employees, they found an average of 0.42 patents per employee. By excluding the companies with fewer than 10 employees, this average falls only slightly to 0.38, so the study takes 0.42 patents per employee as a reasonable estimate.
For large companies, the study gives the figure of 0.03 patents per employee, thus 13 to 14 times fewer patents per employee than small companies.
 Related pages on en.swpat.org
- http://www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs225tot.pdf - the study
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