Wednesday, April 4, 2012

S&P 500 Software Company Patents

Although there are some excellent new data sources for researching patents it has taken quite a bit of work to clean the data for a usable form. Both data sources in use (COMETS and NBER Patent Data Project) manually reviewed patent assignees in an attempt to create a standardized organization name. Some organizations have used multiple variations on the same name over time. This is similar to the COMPUSTAT financial database gvkey which provides a unique organization-level identifier over time through mergers and acquisitions, name changes, ticker symbol changes, etc., but the US Patent and Trade Office does not keep the same data. The addition of a firm-level identifier tied to patents and financial performance data bridge the gap for researchers and allow analysis at the firm level of analysis.

Software Companies in the S&P 500
Evaluating a firm's patent portfolio provides some insight to its patent strategy. Many researchers have tried to identify software patents, but I decided to start with software companies and determine the types of patents that are part of the firm's patent portfolio. One proposition may be that software companies are more likely to hold software patents; I will continue to explore this proposition over time.

There were 21,896 patents assigned to the 31 Software and Services Companies in the S&P 500 for patents awarded by the USPTO in 1976-2010.  15,281 (69.8%) of patents assigned to Software and Services Companies were assigned to Microsoft [1] [2]. See the two charts below for more detail. 
(Note that some patents may be assigned to more than one organization)

  1. COMETS [USPTO Patent Data from 1976-2010] (Zucker & Darby, 2011)
  2. NBER Patent Data Project [USPTO Patent Data from 1976-2006]

Monday, April 2, 2012

Business Method Patents Data

Over the past few months I've been working with two very useful (and free) data sources for US patents that give some insight into firm-level patent data.

The chart below visualizes the lag time between application & award for USPTO Business Method (class 705) patents awarded through 2010 (Zucker & Darby, 2011). I'll post more firm-level data in the coming weeks.

Lynne G. Zucker and Michael R. Darby, COMETS Data Description, release 1.0, Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for International Science, Technology, and Cultural Policy, July 1, 2011.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Internet Users in the 10 Largest Economies

Playing around with some macro level data this morning. Google's Public Data includes a World Bank dataset that allows for some interesting comparisons. The charts below show the # of Internet users and Internet users per capita for the ten largest economies*.

*Ten largest economies (GDP) based on data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and CIA World Fact Book.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Top IS Journal Publication Trends 2002-2011

I have also been collecting some basic data on the top six journals, including basic publication such as number of pages published per journal of the past ten years (2002-2011). Click here to see the interactive graph of the publication data.


Information Systems research tumblr.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Information Systems Research Update Tumblr

As a New Year's resolution I decided I need to be more proactive in staying updated on the lastest research in information systems. I haven't been able to find a single source that provides updates on the top IS Journals, so I created a Tumblr where I hope to post the updated articles citations and abstracts for the top six IS journals as identified by the AIS Senior Scholars (EJIS, ISJ, ISR, JAIS, JMIS, MISQ).

See the Information Systems Research Update tumblr here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Conficker Worm - Interview with Mark Bowden

Good interview that provides an overview of the Conficker worm and the fragility of the Internet.

It's Difficult to Assess Student Writing

For the past year I've participated on my university's assessment committee. Although most universities struggle with assessment I think my university has some unique challenges. My university is currently upper division, possibly the only university left that begins at the junior level (although we're just beginning a year long campus debate over the merits of becoming a 4-year institution). The university's regional accrediting organization recently told us that we are still responsible for undergraduate student learning outcomes such as writing, critical thinking, etc.

Beginning with the assessment committee took a commonly used rubric from AAC&U and first decided to use the rubric to assess a small sample of student papers from different disciplines such as education, english, psychology, and business. As a business professor I found the task intriguing but difficult. I am not a writing professor and found it impossible to distinguish between criteria such as understanding audience vs. context vs. purpose vs. task vs. focus. It was a bit easier to assess content development and content syntax/usage/mechanics.  It was interesting and challenging to assess quality and quantity of sources used for a personal reflection paper such as a student's philosophy of teaching statement.

Assessment is an uncomfortable and humbling process. When working with my peers from my own college and also from other disciplines including english (literature and composition), nursing, psychology, chemistry, and business, we all expressed the same concerns about rating the papers totally different from the others. The papers were anonymous, but it was easy to figure out a paper was from an english course when it connected everything to Wuthering Heights. I was a bit nervous that my ratings would reveal that I am either a pushover, too tough, or, more worrisome, an incompetent instructor?

One of the papers was a competitive analysis of a specific industry, and I rated it as fairly well written across all criteria, addressing each of Porter's competitive forces.  As least one rater assessed it as totally unacceptable on most criteria. I am most comfortable in providing students with feedback on executive summaries, memos, white papers, case analyses, project proposals, RFPs, requirements documentation, or pure academic research papers. 

To be continued...