US Multinational Corporations Are Increasingly Using International Teams for Inventions

Lee G. Branstetter (PIIE), Britta Glennon (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) and J. Bradford Jensen (PIIE)

July 1, 2019

US Multinational Corporations Are Increasingly Using International Teams for Inventions

US patents granted to US multinational corporations (MNCs) reflect rapid growth in cross-border research and development (R&D) collaboration. The share of all US MNC patents, including those granted to foreign inventors, that have inventors from more than one country has increased from less than 2 percent in 1980 to more than 10 percent in 2014. For leading multinationals, this fraction is considerably higher. In the mid-2010s, IBM publicly announced that more than a third of its US patents had a foreign inventor.

This PIIE Chart is adapted from Lee G. Branstetter, Britta Glennon, and J. Bradford Jensen's Policy Brief 19-9, The Rise of Global Innovation by US Multinationals Poses Risks and Opportunities.