donderdag 25 oktober 2012

Patent density

Driven by pure curiousity, I 've wondered what the patent density around the world would look like.

From datasets made available by gapminder [1], it is posible to calculate the number of patents in force per capita. For the top 45 countries the results are shown below, wherein the abscis is expressed in a logarithmic scale.

I thought, that the patent density would be an great indicator for e.g. prosperity of a nation.... well seen the astonishing 7 granted patents per capita in Gibraltar, more than 1000 times the patent density in Japan, this figure more reflects the size of the country than anything else.

What does this patent density tell us?  Well the amount of protected patents does not even reflect the amount of infringement cases. In Canada for instance, with about 10,4 active patent rights in force per 1000 inhabitants, less infringement cases are brought to court than in the USA with about 4,3 active patents per 1000 inhabitants. So this indicator is not indicative for infringement behaviour. 

Furthermore, the fact that Swasiland, with a relative low developed technology has a higher patent density than e.g. Switserland, Japan and the USA indicates that patent density isn't a great indicator for drawing any conclusions on prosperity or technology advancement levels of a country...

I can only conclude that patent density is a very lousy indicator. Too bad....