Challenges for regional innovation policies in Central and Eastern Europe: spatial concentration and foreign control of US patenting


On the basis of patent information available online at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) we point at two major and interconnected challenges that policy-makers face in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) when combating the lagging innovation performance. First, we address the spatial concentration by using a distribution analysis at the city level. The results suggest that patenting is concentrated in post-socialist territories more than in western nations and regions. However, there is not a single outstanding hub in CEE when one compares USPTO patents normalized for the respective population sizes. Secondly, we argue that dominance of foreign control over USPTO patents is mostly embodied in international co-operations at the individual level, and only rarely spilled-over to MNE subsidiaries. In our opinion, catching-up of CEE in terms of patenting is unlikely, unless innovation policy measures focus on growing hubs and target both domestic inventors and international relations of companies.