Patenting trends in the mining industry

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This article focuses on patenting in the mining sector during the period of 1970–2018. Information from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) mining database allows studying innovation trends of mining technologies, where the unit of interest is patent families. The latter are classified by filing year, applicant's origin, entity type (i.e., companies, educational institutions, research centers, and individuals), intellectual protection type, and patent family size. The evidence shows: (i) only a small percentage of families is foreign-oriented, suggesting a limited international scope of mining inventions. (ii) Most families are first filed within the same geographic region of origin. (iii) The mining innovation surge, starting in the mid-2000s, has been driven, in absolute terms, by Chinese companies, individuals, and educational institutions. However, China's relative specialization in mining has consistently decreased over time, in contrast with that of Australia and the Russia Federation. And, (iv) mining firms rely heavily on service providers' inventions, particularly in what regards to mine operation and mineral processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102090
JournalResources Policy
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Foreign-oriented families
  • Patent families
  • Patent family size


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