Journal of Data and Information Science ›› 2016, Vol. 1 ›› Issue (1): 6-27.doi: 10.20309/jdis.201603

• Research Paper • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Gauging a Firm's Innovative Performance Using an Integrated Structural Index for Patents

Xiaojun Hu1 & Ronald Rousseau2,3   

  1. 1 Medical Information Center, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310058, China;
    2 Department of Mathematics, KU Leuven, Leuven B-3000, Belgium;
    3 Information and Library Science (IBW), University of Antwerp (UA), Antwerp B-2000, Belgium
  • Received:2016-01-28 Revised:2016-02-22 Online:2016-03-15 Published:2016-02-25
  • Contact: Ronald Rousseau
  • Supported by:
    This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos: 71173185 and 71573225).

Abstract: Purpose: In this contribution we try to find new indicators to measure characteristics of a firm's patents and their influence on a company's profits.

Design/methodology/approach: We realize that patent evaluation and influence on a company's profits is a complicated issue requiring different perspectives. For this reason we design two types of structural h-indices, derived from the International Patent Classification (IPC). In a case study we apply not only basic statistics but also a nested case-control methodology.

Findings: The resulting indicator values based on a large dataset (19,080 patents in total) from the pharmaceutical industry show that the new structural indices are significantly correlated with a firm's profits.

Research limitations: The new structural index and the synthetic structural index have just been applied in one case study in the pharmaceutical industry.

Practical implications: Our study suggests useful implications for patentometric studies and leads to suggestions for different sized firms to include a healthy research and development (R&D) policy management. The structural h-index can be used to gauge the profits resulting from the innovative performance of a firm's patent portfolio.

Originality/value: Traditionally, the breadth and depth of patents of a firm and their citations are considered separately. This approach, however, does not provide an integrated insight in the major characteristics of a firm's patents. The Sh(Y) index, proposed in our investigation, can reflect a firm's innovation activities, its technological breadth, and its influence in an integrated way.

Key words: Patent analysis, Structural h-index, Market value of patents, Technological value of patents, Pharmaceutical industry, Nested case-control