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Inventors and Imposters: An Analysis of Patent Examination with Self-Selection of Firms into R&D

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  • Schuett, F.

    (Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economics Center)

Abstract

Abstract: I present a model in which firms differing in R&D productivity choose between ambitious research projects, which are socially desirable, and unambitious ones, which are socially undesirable. The patent office must decide how rigorously to examine applications, which affects the probability of weeding out bad applications but also how firms self-select into more or less ambitious projects. Both the ex post and ex ante welfare effects need to be taken into account in determining the optimal examination intensity. The model allows me to assess the impact of various policy changes on examination and welfare, including the creation of specialized patent courts, post-grant opposition, and the delegation of fee-setting authority to the patent office. It generates a number of predictions that are consistent with empirical evidence on the patent system.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center in its series Discussion Paper with number 2012-026.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubtil:2012026

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Web page: http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/tilec/

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Keywords: innovation; patent office; optimal patent policy;

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  1. Graham, Stuart J. H. & Hall, Bronwyn H. & Harhoff, Dietmar & Mowery, David C., 2002. "Post-Issue Patent "Quality Control": A Comparative Study of US Patent Re-examinations and European Patent Oppositions," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8bs830w9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Robert M. Hunt, 2004. "Patentability, Industry Structure, and Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 401-425, 09.
  3. Pierre R�Gibeau & Katharine Rockett, 2010. "INNOVATION CYCLES AND LEARNING AT THE PATENT OFFICE: DOES THE EARLY PATENT GET THE DELAY? -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 222-246, 06.
  4. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 2007. "How Strong Are Weak Patents?," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt8vg425vj, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Hugo Hopenhayn & Gerard Llobet & Matthew Mitchell, 2006. "Rewarding Sequential Innovators: Prizes, Patents, and Buyouts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1041-1068, December.
  6. Richard Gilbert and Carl Shapiro., 1989. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," Economics Working Papers 89-102, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. P. Regibeau & K. Rockett, 2003. "Are More Important Patents Approved More Slowly and Should They Be?," Economics Discussion Papers 556, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  8. Florian Schuett, 2009. "Inventors and Impostors: An Economic Analysis of Patent Examination," Economics Working Papers ECO2009/28, European University Institute.
  9. Langinier, Corinne & Marcoul, Phillipe, 2009. "Search of Prior Art and Revelation of Information by Patent Applicants," Working Papers 2009-21, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  10. Bessen, James, 2008. "The value of U.S. patents by owner and patent characteristics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 932-945, June.
  11. Ted O'Donoghue, 1998. "A Patentability Requirement for Sequential Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 654-679, Winter.
  12. Suzanne Scotchmer & Jerry Green, 1990. "Novelty and Disclosure in Patent Law," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 131-146, Spring.
  13. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1996. "Protecting Early Innovators: Should Second-Generation Products Be Patentable?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 322-331, Summer.
  14. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1999. "On the Optimality of the Patent Renewal System," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 181-196, Summer.
  15. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Mitchell, Matthew F, 2001. "Innovation Variety and Patent Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 152-66, Spring.
  16. Francesca Cornelli & Mark Schankerman, 1999. "Patent Renewals and R&D Incentives," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 197-213, Summer.
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