Patent Share

DEFINITION of 'Patent Share'

The percentage share of a universe of patents owned or created by one subset of that universe. This term usually applies to a comparative share between nations. Patent share has been subdivided not only across nations, but within industry groups and even in companies relative to each other. Patent share is becoming increasingly important to competitive advantage as the applicability of patents extends into information processes, computer software, chemical formulas and other intangibles.

BREAKING DOWN 'Patent Share'

For example, the United States had a worldwide patent share of 43% as of 2003. The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) keeps track of the percentage of new patent issues that belong to every country on the globe, as well as the ratio of company-owned patents to those held by individuals.

By examining industries that are growing their market shares in patent discoveries, investors can get a sense of the health and vibrancy of an industry. Industries such as technology, biotech and pharmaceuticals have seen the largest share gains in the past decade; they also show the highest annual growth rates.