I’m always intrigued that patents are used as a means of measuring scientific productivity especially as there is some talk that they inhibit rather than encourage research efforts. (I have an earlier posting about this here.) This is by way of noting that the OECD’s (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Canada highlights (part of the 2009 Science, Technology and Industry Scorecard) had this to say,
Canada has a low number of patents (21 per million inhabitants in 2005-07) compared to the OECD (33) and the G7 average (48).
Other indices are used as well and I’ve not examined it thoroughly enough to comment on the scorecard itself.
Now back to today’s theme, patents as a measure of scientific productivity. Patents are filed for any number of reasons not just to protect the inventor’s/researcher’s interests but also to intimidate others into abandoning their work or to lay grounds for future legal suits for heinous amounts of money (people who do this are called patent trolls). The question I have is do: the registered patents represent active scientific work? I can’t imagine that this question can be answered by looking at patent registration numbers.