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Do Military Personnel Patent?

Summary

This study identifies individual characteristics correlated with successful innovative behavior among all Marine Corps officers who accessed between 1990 and 2000. To measure innovation, it determines if an individual has ever received a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Based on identical first and last name matches plus other assumptions, it identifies 20 officers with existing patents in the USPTO database of inventors. Using personnel data from the Marine Corps, it finds that officer inventors are more likely to be younger when they access, are less likely to be married, and serve slightly less time than noninventors. However, these differences are not significant in a standard regression analysis. The most significant correlate of patenting is an officer’s initial pistol score. The findings broadly suggest that pistol scores are likely a proxy for unobserved ability that is correlated with patenting. We recommend the study be expanded beyond the initial scope to identify more officer inventors and other correlates of patenting.

Subject Keywords

PATENT, PATENTS, INNOVATIONS, CREATIVITY, INVENTOR

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