Sergio Petralia

ANET Lab Seminar Series: Sergio Petralia

Sergio Petralia (Utrecht University): Committing to Innovate: The Role of Open-Source Software on Innovation

Abstract | In this article I provide evidence of the strong synergy that exists between organizations’ engagement in Open Source Software (OSS) projects and their capacity to innovate. To do so I create a novel data resource that links patenting activity at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and OSS contributions in 47 GitHub repositories for 1034 organizations from 2005 until June 2023. These organizations represent a 23.4 % (974,804 patents) of all patents granted and a 24 % (883,137 contributions) of all GitHub contributions in this period. I use this information to show there exist a concurrence of organizations’ patenting and OSS activities by leveraging the timing at which patents were filed and contributions to OSS were submitted. I show that organizations tend to submit more contributions and do more file changes and line modifications in the GitHub repositories mentioned in a patent two weeks prior its filing when compared to different benchmark periods. These results suggest OSS initiatives are complementary to innovative process within organizations. They also challenge the notion that open source schemes are detrimental for innovation within traditional Intellectual Property Right (IPR) regimes.

Bio | Sergio Petralia is an assistant professor at Utrecht University. He was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science and was a visitor at the Harvard Growth Lab as a Visiting Fellow. He holds a Bachelors in Economics from the University of Buenos Aires, a Masters in Economics from the University of San Andres in Buenos Aires, and Msc in Economics from Pennsylvania State University in the U.S. He finished his Ph.D. at Utrecht University in 2017. Sergio is currently working on issues related to technological change and innovation. His most recent research projects study the emergence and spatial concentration of new technologies using historical data on patent activity, the identification of the challenges and opportunities for technological development in developing economies, and the impact of disruptive technological change on income and wages.