That's Classified! Inventing a New Patent Taxonomy

Stephen Billington, Alan Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Innovation researchers currently make use of various patent classification schemas, which are hard to replicate. Using machine learning techniques, we construct a transparent, replicable and adaptable patent taxonomy, and a new automated methodology for classifying patents. We contrast our new schema with existing ones using a long-run historical patent dataset. We find quantitative analyses of patent characteristics are sensitive to the choice of classification; our interpretation of regression coefficients is schema dependent. We suggest much of the innovation literature should be carefully interpreted in light of our findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-705
Number of pages28
JournalIndustrial and Corporate Change
Issue number3
Early online date27 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Jun 2021


  • Innovation
  • Invention
  • Machine Learning
  • Patents
  • Patent Classification
  • Taxonomy
  • Economic History


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