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Release: Service Lives of R&D Assets, 2011

Released: 22 March 2013


Daniel Ker

Office of the Chief Economic Advisor

Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456256

Categories: Research and Development in Business

Frequency of release: Ad-hoc

Language: English

Geographical coverage: UK

Geographical breakdown: UK and GB

  • Survey questions and patent renewals information offer alternative insight into the service lives of R&D assets.  However, each has its own strengths and limitations and different calculation methods yield a wide range of different estimates.
  • Survey questions can provide direct estimates of the service lives of R&D. Methodical question design and testing improves respondent understanding and response.
  • Survey findings indicate that the average service life of UK R&D lies between 6.0 and 10.5 years and that R&D lives vary across different industrial sections.
  • Patent renewals data can provide a readymade source of information.  However, the strength of the link between patents and R&D is questionable.
  • Estimated average service lives of UK patents range from 8.0 to 20.0 years depending on the estimation method applied. There is also variation across different industrial sections.
  • Survival analysis reduces downward bias present in methods wich only examine 'dead' patents.
This suite of three articles will present ONS research into the useful life of R&D, which is due to be capitalised in the UK National Accounts from 2014. It compares estimates made using new questions implemented on ONS R&D surveys to those derived from patent administration data.
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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