December 5, 2008

Patents and R&D Personnel: Not Always a Direct Correlation in Europe

Past November the 27th, Eurostat published a research concerning the relationship between patent activity and R&D personnel (find it HERE ) .  The main question raised in such research is the following: does a higher innovation input in form of more personnel lead to a higher innovation output in terms of patents?
Although many Member States fit the correlation, the relationship between patents and R&D personnel does not appear to be straightforward in all of them.  This analysis reveals a number of interesting differences between the structure of research and technological industry countries.  Of course, the research does non include all kind of IP protection likely to be associated with technological innovation. Trade secrets or copyright could be associated with relevant and valuable innovation which would go undetected in this research.  Besides, Eurostat considers only EPO patent applications in drawing the comparison among the multiple EU member States. 
However, if we accept the research methodology, the data provided offer some insights regarding the "ROI" of technological businesses located in different EU countries.  In fact, the figures are presented in break-down according to what sector the R&D personnel belongs, namely Business Enterprise, Government, Higher Education and Private Non-Profit Sector.  Some surprising conclusion could be drawn, if you are looking for the best venue for a tech company... Just a quote: "In 2005 the Italian industry employed about 600 000 people more than the French, but the value added of the non-financial economy in France was about EUR 167 bn higher than in Italy. Whereas in France the shares of R&D personnel and expenditure were nearly three times higher than in Italy, patent activity in 2004 was slightly higher in Italy than in France." 
In other words: French spend more to invent less. Italians monetize less their inventions. 

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