Intellectual property, the immigration backlog, and a reverse brain-drain

Gary Gereffi and his colleagues have been working on a number of relevant (to the themes we are interested in) projects, especially global value chains and the associated processes that govern global networks while also grounding these chains in particular localities. They recently released a report titled Intellectual Property, the Immigration Backlog, and a Reverse Brain-Drain.

Key findings, according the new release on the Kauffman Foundation‘s web site, include:

  • Foreign nationals residing in the United States were named as inventors or co-inventors in 25.6 percent of international patent applications filed from the United States in 2006. This represents an increase from 7.6 percent in 1998.
  • Foreign nationals contributed to more than half of the international patents filed by a number of large, multi-national companies, including Qualcomm (72 percent), Merck & Co. (65 percent), General Electric (64 percent), Siemens (63 percent) and Cisco (60 percent). Forty-one percent of the patents filed by the U.S. government had foreign nationals as inventors or co-inventors.
  • In 2006, 16.8 percent of international patent applications from the United States had an inventor or co-inventor with a Chinese-heritage name, representing an increase from 11.2 percent in 1998. The contribution of inventors with Indian-heritage names increased to 13.7 percent from 9.5 percent in the same period.
  • The total number of employment-based principals in the employment-based categories and their family members waiting for legal permanent residence in the United States in 2006 was estimated at 1,055,084. Additionally, there are an estimated 126,421 residents abroad also waiting for employment-based U.S. legal permanent residence, adding up to a worldwide total of 1,181,505.

My colleague Fazal Rizvi, currently visting UNESCO here in Paris, has been highlighting the increased convergence and strategic articulation of policies related to higher education, human mobility, and economic development. Clearly researchers have been working on all three of these themes for many years, though it is the articulation process knitting these policies together that is seriously under-examined.

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