Identification of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies using PATSTAT data

Mercedes Menéndez De Medina , Önder Nomaler & Bart Verspagen


This document provides a methodological procedure to identify the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies using patent data. Attempts to distinguish these technologies have frequently relied on the European Patent Office (2017, 2020a) methods or have mainly leaned on technical codes and keyword classifications. Frequently, these studies have the limitation of collecting technologies arbitrarily and without a deep justification. Only the latest report from the European Patent Office (EPO, 2020b) attempts to detail the procedure to recognize the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. However, it does not offer the possibility of being replicated by scholars outside the organization. This article delivers a procedure to collect Fourth Industrial Revolution patents relying on key concepts from a detailed literature review - focused on whether they make up a new revolution and its conceptualization over time- and the EPO (2020b) report identification method. Subsequently, the evolution of these technologies and the principal trends are exposed. Finally, the search queries and the list of identified patents are available (in the Appendix) to replicate or adapt for other academic purposes.

Keywords: Fourth Industrial Revolution, patents, identifying patents on Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies

JEL Classification: O14, O30, O31, O33

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