Technological competences and regional innovation networks: measurement and visualisation with patent data
In order to contribute to the elaboration of quantitative methodologies, in this chapter we discuss if and how patent data can be employed to measure technological competences and innovation networks for medium developed regions, which are not global innovation hubs such as Silicon Valley, Bangalore or Baden Württemberg, but which do show some important technological skills and rank in the middle of industrialised countries with regard to their innovative performance (e.g. measured by the European Regional Innovation Scoreboard; Hollanders et al., 2009b). The pragmatic reason for using patent data is their availability for most regions of the OECD. Further advantages of patent data are evident in the multi-faceted information they provide: they not only include the postal codes of the inventors and applicants in order to identify the regions, but also the technological eld the patent belongs to (OECD, 2009). Patents therefore allow for a sorting of inventors with regard to regions as well as technology classes. However, it is well known that patent data are also characterised by a series of shortcomings.