Is the Fuel Cell Vehicle’s Technological Innovation System built at a global or national scale? An analysis of carmakers' co-patents’ portfolios

Version imprimableEnvoyer par courriel


This paper wishes to contribute to the Technological Innovation System (TIS) literature. More precisely, we study the geographic delineation issue of a focal TIS. In a first part, we discuss the geographic delineation debate in TIS framework, and we explain why co-patents are a good tool for mapping a TIS. Then considering the Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) as a focal TIS, we analyse 10 carmakers’ co-patent networks in FCV technologies between 2000 and 2013. Our database includes 3,250 co-patents. First, we build the networks corresponding to the three periods 2000-2004, 2000-2009, and 2000-2013. Second, we measure the nationalization index of their networks. Third, we study with whom they have established formal collaborations. The results show: 1) the internationalization increased slowly during the time span. We observe an extension of the network until 2009 and then, a consolidation trend; 2) the nationalization index is rather strong for 5 carmakers, and very weak for 3 others; 3) carmakers call upon different kinds of partners, located, moreover, in different places. The final section learns the lessons from the empirical study.

JEL Class  

O31, O33, L62


Technological Innovation System, TIS, Fuel Cell Vehicle, Geography of innovation, Co-patent, Automobile.