The paper analyses the origins of innovative capacities in various industries in Poland. The analysed data covered years of 2006-2015, decomposed into patent applications filed by public and private sectors, as well as high and low technology industries. More patenting activities were registered in low technology industries, which also tend to be dominated by private sector applicants, while majority of high technology patents were granted to public sector organisations. Public sector applicants have higher patent success rates, while more applications originating in private sector tend to be rejected by patent examiners, and many patents granted to public sector owners expire because universities and research institutes refrain from paying the maintenance fees. This comparative analysis reveals diversified approaches to patenting and their respective effectiveness. It also supports the quest for relevant innovation indicators, highlighting the limitations of aggregate measures of patenting, commonly used to characterize innovation systems.