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The software patent experiment

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Author Info

  • Robert Hunt
  • James Bessen

Abstract

Over the past two decades, the scope of technologies that can be patented has been expanded to include many items previously thought unsuitable for patenting, for example, computer software. Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants 20,000 or more software patents a year. Conventional wisdom holds that extending patent protection to computer programs will stimulate research and development and, thus, increase the rate of innovation. In "The Software Patent Experiment," Bob Hunt and Jim Bessen investigate whether this has, in fact, happened. They describe the spectacular growth in software patenting, who obtains patents, and the relationship between a sharp focus on software patenting and firms' investment in R&D.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its journal Business Review.

Volume (Year): (2004)
Issue (Month): Q3 ()
Pages: 22-32

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpbr:y:2004:i:q3:p:22-32

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Keywords: Patents;

References

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  1. James Bessen & Robert M. Hunt, 2007. "An Empirical Look at Software Patents," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 157-189, 03.
  2. Arora, Ashish & Ceccagnoli, Marco & Cohen, Wesley M., 2008. "R&D and the patent premium," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1153-1179, September.
  3. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James Bessen, 2004. "Patent Thickets: Strategic Patenting of Complex Technologies," Working Papers 0401, Research on Innovation.
  5. Nancy T. Gallini, 2002. "The Economics of Patents: Lessons from Recent U.S. Patent Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 131-154, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Hvide, Hans K, 2005. "The Quality of Entrepreneurs," CEPR Discussion Papers 4979, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Encaoua, David & Guellec, Dominique & Martinez, Catalina, 2006. "Patent systems for encouraging innovation: Lessons from economic analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1423-1440, November.
  3. Emmanuel Duguet & Claire Lelarge, 2005. "Do Patents Foster Innovation in Manufacturing? A Microeconometric Study," Economie et Statistique, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, vol. 380, pages 35-61, September.
  4. Sebastian von Engelhardt & Sushmita Swaminathan, 2008. "Open Source Software, Closed Source Software or Both: Impacts on Industry Growth and the Role of Intellectual Property Rights," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 799, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Hvide, Hans K., 2004. "Firm Size and the Quality of Entrepreneurs," Discussion Papers 2004/9, Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics.
  6. Isabelle Liotard, 2007. "Les nouvelles facettes de la propriété intellectuelle : stratégies, attaques et menaces," Post-Print hal-00196848, HAL.
  7. Robert M. Hunt, 2007. "Economics and the design of patent systems," Working Papers 07-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. Seppä, Arto, 2006. "Open Source in Finnish Software Companies," Discussion Papers 1002, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.

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