State of Innovation

Patents and Innovation Economics

What Percentage of Patents are Commercialized?

It is quite common to hear that only 2% of all patents every make money.[1]  Apparently this myth has been around for a long time, because Jacob Schmookler in his 1966 book Invention and Economic Growth, he investigates this myth.  His survey show that over 50% of patents are commercialized.[2]  He states that “prevailing opinion has proved to be in serious error.”  He found similar results in Europe, based on the percentage of five year maintenance fees paid.  He states that even “many corporate officers who doubted the accuracy of the (commercialization rates) later found that their own companies’ experience confirmed the findings.”  He notes that most people are only able to perceive giant steps in an area of technology.  As a result, most people not skilled in the art deny the novelty encompassed by the average invention.  A recent survey in China finds that 70% of patents are commercialized in China.[3]


[2] Schmookler, Jacob, Invention and Economic Growth, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1966, p. 49. 

[3] (12/16/09).

December 17, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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