Alan Marco

Associate Professor

Member Of:
  • School of Public Policy
Office Location:
DM Smith 320

Dr. Alan Marco joins the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech as a tenured Associate Professor.  He is an economist, who specializes in the following fields:  innovation and patent policy; science and technology policy; industrial organization; game theory; law and economics; intellectual property strategy and management; big data analytics; and other areas related to regulation and empirical legal studies.  He comes to us from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where he held the position of Chief Economist.  Prior to the USPTO, he held faculty positions as associate professor in the Williams School of Commerce at Washington and Lee University and associate professor of economics at Vassar College.

At the USPTO, Dr. Marco’s research focused on policy-relevant topics in intellectual property. He is the co-creator of the USPTO’s, a free and open platform for exploring and accessing high-quality patent data.  He also was the co-lead on the Cancer Moonshot Patent Challenge as part of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, and he participated in the G-20 Innovation Task Force.  Dr. Marco has published academic articles on the intellectual property marketplace, uncertainty in intellectual property rights, patent valuation, and high-tech mergers.

Dr. Marco earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California-Berkeley and his B.A. in mathematics and economics from Skidmore College.

Research Fields:
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy
  • PUBP-4843: Special Topics
  • PUBP-6116: Microecon-Policy Analy
  • PUBP-8211: Microeconomic Theory
Recent Publications

Journal Articles

  • Business dynamics of innovating firms: Linking U.S. patents with administrative data on workers and firms
       In: Journal of Economics & Management Strategy [Peer Reviewed]

    July 2018

    This paper discusses the construction of a new longitudinal database tracking inventors and patent‐owning firms over time. We match granted patents between 2000 and 2011 to administrative databases of firms and workers housed at the U.S. Census Bureau. We use inventor information in addition to the patent assignee firm name to improve on previous efforts linking patents to firms. The triangulated database allows us to maximize match rates and provide validation for a large fraction of matches. In this paper, we describe the construction of the database and explore basic features of the data. We find patenting firms, particularly young patenting firms, disproportionally contribute jobs to the U.S. economy. We find that patenting is a relatively rare event among small firms but that most patenting firms are nevertheless small, and that patenting is not as rare an event for the youngest firms compared to the oldest firms. Although manufacturing firms are more likely to patent than firms in other sectors, we find that most patenting firms are in the services and wholesale sectors. These new data are a product of collaboration within the U.S. Department of Commerce, between the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

  • Patent transactions in the marketplace: Lessons from the USPTO Patent Assignment Dataset
       In: Journal of Economics & Management Strategy [Peer Reviewed]

    July 2018

    Transaction records involving U.S. patent documents have been maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for over 40 years, but have not been extensively used by scholars. One explanation is that these data have not been in a form amenable for research. To help remedy this deficiency and to foster scholarship, the USPTO Office of Chief Economist is curating internal agency records to release a series of datasets in research‐ready formats. This article describes the USPTO Patent Assignment Dataset (UPAD), a relational database of roughly 6 million assignments, licenses, securitizations, and other conveyances involving about 10 million U.S. patents and patent applications, recorded 1970–2014. To promote research uses, this article provides a comprehensive data description and presents stylized facts derived from the records. Although this article discusses several limitations inherent in using these data, the release of the UPAD creates opportunities to conduct original research, particularly relating to intellectual property collateralization and the markets for technology and innovation.

  • The USPTO Patent Examination Research Dataset: A Window on the Patent Process
       In: Journal of Economics & Management Strategy [Peer Reviewed]

    July 2018

    This article describes the “USPTO Patent Examination Research Dataset” (PatEx) and explores possible selection issues and the representativeness of the nearly 9.2 million US patent application records it contains. We find that data are sparse for years before 1981, and that serious selection issues affect records on applications filed prior to 2001 due to nonpublication in the United States. Following implementation of a policy change in November 2000, both coverage and representativeness of the PatEx data improve substantially. We uncover specific areas that are prone to selectivity issues, by generating statistical evidence across application characteristics such as application type, age, ownership type, domestic or foreign origin, patent family status, and technology class among others. Although our exploration suggests to researchers several categories of specific concern, our findings overall show that the PatEx data are generally representative of the population of patent applications filed in the United States after November 2000 across observable characteristics.