Mapping (USPTO) patent data using overlays to Google Maps



A technique is developed using patent information available online (at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) for the generation of Google Maps. The overlays indicate both the quantity and the quality of patents at the city level. This information is relevant for research questions in technology analysis, innovation studies, and evolutionary economics, as well as economic geography. The resulting maps can also be relevant for technological innovation policies and research and development management, because the U.S. market can be considered the leading market for patenting and patent competition. In addition to the maps, the routines provide quantitative data about the patents for statistical analysis. The cities on the map are colored according to the results of significance tests. The overlays are explored for the Netherlands as a “national system of innovations” and further elaborated in two cases of emerging technologies: ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) and nanotechnology.