• Southern Asia;
  • patents;
  • technology transfer

The remarkable growth of patent applications in Asia has been the central focus of the recent studies on technological knowledge creation. However, all the Asian countries have not shown similar growth and hence, have not gained similar academic attention. Especially, the lower and middle-income countries in South Asia are stagnating in technological knowledge creation. Sri Lanka is one such country that has high proportion of independent inventors in their innovation system. Owing to small number of inventors, there is hardly any attention given to conduct empirical studies on inventors in these countries. Therefore, inherent characteristics of inventors and innovation systems in these countries are underexplored in published academic literature. This pioneering study attempted to explore the inherent characteristics of the independent inventors in Sri Lanka as the representatives of inventors in middle-income South Asian developing countries. The findings of the study suggest that most of the sociodemographic and technical characteristics of Sri Lankan inventors are similar to the independent inventors in industrial countries. It also indicates that demographic factors such as age, income, job mobility, marital status and technical factors such as engagement in inventions, prototype development and commercialization method have significant influence on the overall innovation success of independent inventors in Sri Lanka.