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Shin, Seungryul Ryan
Data-driven Management Engineering Lab
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The diffusion of scientific discoveries in government laboratories: The role of patents filed by government scientists

Shin, Seungryul RyanLee, JisooJung, Yura RosemaryHwang, Junseok
Issued Date
RESEARCH POLICY, v.51, no.5, pp.104496
The study examines the role of a patent filed by government scientists in regard to the dissemination of scientific
discoveries in government laboratories. While a patent filed by government scientists decreases the rate of
follow-on patents in a technological area that overlaps with the areas of the focal patent, it increases the rate of
follow-on patents in non-overlapping technological areas. The increase in follow-on inventions is attributed to
risk-taking inventions, that is, inventions involve a high chance of resulting in either impactful or failure patents,
rather than incremental inventions. It is also characterized by inventions with a high level of originality. In-
ventors in distant locations in terms of geographical and technological proximity are most affected by the patents
filed by government scientists. The patent effect is pronounced when the government scientists involved in the
focal discovery have fewer social connections and when the scientific field is less familiar in the industry. These
findings are consistent with the idea that patenting by government scientists helps facilitate the dissemination of
technological information or potential of scientific discoveries in government laboratories. Policy and managerial
implications are also discussed.
Elsevier BV
Keyword (Author)
Government laboratoryFederally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs)Scientific discoveryPatent protectionKnowledge disseminationScience-based inventions


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