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Patent Reform: Aligning Reward and Contribution

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  • Carl Shapiro

Abstract

Economists and policy makers have long recognized that innovators must be able to appropriate a reasonable portion of the social benefits of their innovations if innovation is to be suitably rewarded and encouraged. However, this paper identifies a number of specific fact patterns under which the current U.S. patent system allows patent holders to capture private rewards that exceed their social contributions. Such excessive patentee rewards are socially costly, since they raise the deadweight loss associated with the patent system and discourage innovation by others. Economic efficiency is promoted if rewards to patent holders are aligned with and do not exceed their social contributions. This paper analyzes two major reforms to the patent system designed to spur innovation by better aligning the rewards and contributions of patent holders: establishing an independent invention defense in patent infringement cases, and strengthening the procedures by which patents are re-examined after they are issued. Three additional reforms relating to patent litigation are also studied: limiting the use of injunctions, clarifying the way in which "reasonable royalties" are calculated, and narrowing the definition of "willful infringement."

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13141.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Publication status: published as Patent Reform: Aligning Reward and Contribution , Carl Shapiro. in Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 8 , Jaffe, Lerner, and Stern. 2007
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13141

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  1. James Bessen & Eric Maskin, 2009. "Sequential innovation, patents, and imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 611-635.
  2. Paul Klemperer, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 113-130, Spring.
  3. Linda R. Cohen & Jun Ishii, 2005. "Competition, Innovation and Racing for Priority at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office," Working Papers 050604, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  4. Gallini, Nancy & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2001. "Intellectual Property: When Is It the Best Incentive System?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9wx2c2hz, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  6. Emeric Henry, 2010. "Runner-up patents: is monopoly inevitable?," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  7. Gerard Llobet & Hugo Hopenhayn & Matthew Mitchell, 2003. "Rewarding Sequential Innovators: Prizes, Patents and Buyouts," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000682, David K. Levine.
  8. Nancy T. Gallini, 1992. "Patent Policy and Costly Imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 52-63, Spring.
  9. 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.
  10. James Anton & Hillary Greene & Dennis Yao, 2006. "Policy Implications of Weak Patent Rights," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 6, pages 1-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Richard Gilbert and Carl Shapiro., 1989. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," Economics Working Papers 89-102, University of California at Berkeley.
  12. Lemley, Mark A & Shapiro, Carl, 2007. "Patent Hold-Up and Royalty Stacking," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt8638s257, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  13. Tandon, Pankaj, 1982. "Optimal Patents with Compulsory Licensing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 470-86, June.
  14. Deepak Hegde & David C. Mowery & Stuart Graham, 2007. "Pioneers, Submariners, or Thicket-builders: Which Firms Use Continuations in Patenting?," NBER Working Papers 13153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Stuart Graham & David Mowrey, 2004. "Submarines in software? continuations in US software patenting in the 1980s and 1990s," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(5), pages 443-456.
  16. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2004. "Little Patents and Big Secrets: Managing Intellectual Property," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 1-22, Spring.
  17. Pankaj Tandon, 1983. "Rivalry and the Excessive Allocation of Resources to Research," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 152-165, Spring.
  18. Kitch, Edmund W, 1977. "The Nature and Function of the Patent System," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 265-90, October.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Krueger to CEA
    by Adam Ozimek in Modeled Behavior on 2011-08-29 11:35:20
  2. “Patent Reform: Aligning Reward and Contribution,” C. Shapiro (2007)
    by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2012-06-01 04:01:16
  3. “Patent Reform: Aligning Reward and Contribution,” C. Shapiro (2007)
    by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2012-06-01 04:01:16
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Cited by:
  1. Darius Lakdawalla & Neeraj Sood, 2007. "The Welfare Effects of Public Drug Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Heisey, Paul W. & King, John L. & Day-Rubenstein, Kelly A. & Bucks, Dale A. & Welsh, Rick, 2010. "Assessing the Benefits of Public Research Within an Economic Framework: The Case of USDA's Agricultural Research Service," Economic Research Report 94852, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  3. Zhang, Tianle, 2009. "Patenting in the Shadow of Independent Discoveries by Rivals," MPRA Paper 32917, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2011.
  4. Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine, 2013. "The Case against Patents," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
  5. Giovanni Dosi & Joseph Stiglitz, 2013. "The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in the Development Process, with Some Lessons from Developed Countries: An Introduction," LEM Papers Series 2013/23, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  6. Francesco Bogliacino & Alberto José Naranjo Ramos, 2008. "Optimal intellectual property rights protection: the case of Colombia," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(20), pages 1-15.
  7. Lakdawalla, Darius & Sood, Neeraj, 2009. "Innovation and the welfare effects of public drug insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 541-548, April.
  8. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2012. "The Case Against Patents," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000465, David K. Levine.
  9. Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine, 2012. "The case against patents," Working Papers 2012-035, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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