Vanessa OLTRA, GREThA (UMR CNRS 5113), University Bordeaux IV
René KEMP, UNU-MERIT & ICIS, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands
Frans P. de VRIES, Stirling Management School, University of Stirling, UK
This paper examines the usefulness of patent analysis for measuring eco-innovation. The overall conclusion is that patents are a useful means for measuring environmentally motivated innovations, such as pollution control technologies and green energy technologies, and for general purpose technologies with environmental benefits.
For these types of innovations it is acceptable to use patent analysis, provided they are carefully screened. Patent analysis may be used for measuring five attributes of ecoinnovation: (1) eco-inventive activities in specific technology fields, (2) international technological diffusion, (3) research and technical capabilities of companies, (4) institutional knowledge sources of eco-innovation, and (5) technological spillovers and knowledge flows. Up until now it is mainly used for measuring eco-inventive activity.