International patent families: from application strategies to statistical indicators


This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the characteristics of international patent families, including their domestic component.

The authors exploit a relatively under-studied feature of patent families, namely the number of patents covering the same invention within a given jurisdiction. Using this information, they highlight common patterns in the structure of international patent families, which reflect both the patenting strategies of innovators and the peculiarities of the different patent systems.

While the literature has extensively used family size – i.e. the number of countries in which a given invention is protected – as a measure of patent value, the authors’ results suggest that the number of patent filings in the priority country within a patent family, as well as the time span between the first and last filings within a family, are other insightful indicators of the value of patented innovations.