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      Embeddedness levels in Central and East European countries as revealed by patent-related indicators

      Pluto Journals


            Central and East European countries (CEECs) still show many features of the Soviet era. Consequently, the region seems, in several ways, to have been shaped by a single universal phase of transformation. This explains, at least in part, the relatively weak patenting activities and innovation performance of these countries. This paper deals with quantitative information originating from a newly created databank and investigates CEECs, employing various patent indicators in a Triple Helix context.

            New member states of the European Union (EU) from CEECs accounted for less than 1% of European patents between 1990 and 2006. This figure does not improve if patent applications are normalised according to population, and the number of patents registered in the region has evolved very little over the years. Analysing the relationships among old and new member states of the EU and their regions in terms of citations shows the pattern of intellectual linkages within Europe quite clearly. Even if CEECs feature relatively rarely in cited European publications, there are still 43 CEE affiliations recorded among the top 500 in Europe (ranked by performance). Intellectual linkages are still weak (both within the CEE area and among old and new EU member states and their regions), and the citation pattern clearly shows the importance of externally derived knowledge for CEE countries. Self-citation highlights the weakness of scientific impulses from the immediate environment to patenting activity. A very low level of self-citation may be indicative not only of low capabilities in terms of knowledge production, but also of a basic weakness in knowledge dissemination and absorption. In this respect, CEE universities have not yet shown themselves to be strongregional innovation organisers.


            Author and article information

            Pluto Journals
            1 December 2014
            : 32
            : 4 ( doiID: 10.1080/prometheus.32.issue-4 )
            : 385-401
            IKU Innovation Research Centre at Financial Research PLC, Felhévízi út 24, Budapest 1023, Hungary
            © 2014 Pluto Journals

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            Computer science,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,History,Economics


            1. The database was developed for a study commissioned by the European Commission Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (ECIPTS) (contract 150176-2005-F1SC-BE), Production of Data to Analyse University References Found in Patent Documents by Geographic Origin by the Erawatch Network. The aim of this study was to produce data on the relations among the components of the European Research Area (ERA), with special focus on the links between universities and other actors.

            2. We refer to the CEEC-10 in this short form as meaning either the CEE area or the countries themselves. The CEEC-10 are: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The two other new member states, Cyprus and Malta, are non-transition economies, never having undergone the Soviet experience. They are also, of course, outside the CEE geographical area.

            3. The separation of scientific research, education and teaching was never as pronounced in Poland as in other countries, as the Polish Academy did not have the monopoly status of academies in other countries.

            4. A better translation for ‘certificate of authorship’ would be ‘inventor's certificate’.

            5. The Soviet Union invaded the Baltic countries in 1940, but one year later Germany occupied them. The Soviet Union reoccupied the Baltic States in 1944, and so the constitutional metamorphosis, the sovietisation of the system, started at the end of the war.

            6. These countries established and/or renewed their legal institutions. It was also crucial to accumulate experience and qualified specialists through training and retraining of R&D managers, managers of liaison offices, IPR specialists and patent attorneys. The European Union had a special programme for transition economies relating to the IPR regime (Inzelt et al., 1996).

            7. The databank used in this paper is based on an ECIPTS contracted study, and was produced by three organisations: Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation, Faculty of Economics and Applied Economics, KU Leuven; the research division of Incentim; and Steunpunt O&O Statistieken. Methodological details are presented in Lecocq et al., 2008.

            8. The EU-27 comprises all the EU member states between 2007 and 2013. The EU-17 is the old EU-15 member states and two new member states, Malta and Cyprus, that are not transition economies.

            9. Comparison between EU old and new member states is based on Ranga, Inzelt et al. (2009) and Ranga, Looy et al.(2009).

            10. NUTS stands for Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics in the EU. NUTS classification is a hierarchical system for dividing the territories of the EU for a variety of economic categorisation purposes.

            11. Another analytical option is to use patent citation relationships for building interactive overlay maps, as is done by Leydesdorff et al. (2014).

            12. Analysing regional R&D activities in Swedish Triple Helix practice, Danell and Persson (2003) also observed significant performance differences among regions. The domination of the main (Swedish) urban areas remained strong despite decentralisation of the academic system. The main urban areas have been performing better in patenting and citation activities, and there are better balances among the three sectors of the TH model. The main problematic difference is the frequency of internationally well-embedded regions between CEECs and Sweden.

            13. Although Slovenia is divided into two NUTS2 regions, related data are frequently available only at the country level. In our databank, Slovenian data are available only at the country level as a citing country (NUTS level-1, S10 Slovenia). When Slovenia is the country cited, data are divided into two NUTS2 regions (S101 Vzhodna Slovenija and S102 Zahodna Slovenija).

            14. The name of this organisation is an old one which existed before Czechoslovakia was divided into the Czech Republic (and Czech Academy) and Slovakia (Slovak Academy). As the first reference year is 1996 (priority year), the past performance of affiliation during the socialist period and the transition period in patenting activities/opportunities may influence these data. Other information is crucial to evaluate the real value of the data.


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