Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Why Don't Inventors Patent?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Petra Moser

Abstract

This paper argues that the ability to keep innovations secret may be a key determinant of patenting. To test this hypothesis, the paper examines a newly-collected data set of more than 7,000 American and British innovations at four world's fairs between 1851 and 1915. Exhibition data show that the industry where an innovation is made is the single most important determinant of patenting. Urbanization, high innovative quality, and low costs of patenting also encourage patenting, but these influences are small compared with industry effects. If the effectiveness of secrecy is an important factor in inventors' patenting decisions, scientific breakthroughs, which facilitate reverse-engineering, should increase inventors' propensity to patent. The discovery of the periodic table in 1869 offers an opportunity to test this idea. Exhibition data show that patenting rates for chemical innovations increased substantially after the introduction of the periodic table, both over time and relative to other industries.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13294.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13294.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13294

Note: DAE PR
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not)," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
  2. Josh Lerner, 2003. "150 Years of Patent Protection," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000587, David K. Levine.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Edwin Mansfield, 1986. "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(2), pages 173-181, February.
  6. Manuel Trajtenberg, 1990. "A Penny for Your Quotes: Patent Citations and the Value of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 172-187, Spring.
  7. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. David D. Friedman & William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1991. "Some Economics of Trade Secret Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 61-72, Winter.
  9. Gilbert, Richard J & Newbery, David M G, 1982. "Preemptive Patenting and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 514-26, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Brunt, Liam & Lerner, Josh & Nicholas, Tom, 2011. "Inducement Prizes and Innovation," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 25/2011, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  2. James Bessen, 2010. "Communicating Technical Knowledge," Working Papers 1001, Research on Innovation.
  3. Petra Moser & Alessandra Voena, 2010. "Compulsory Licensing: Evidence from the Trading with the Enemy Act," Discussion Papers 09-026, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  4. Gaétan de Rassenfosse & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2010. "The Role of Fees in Patent Systems: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2010-023, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Joel Mokyr, 2009. "Intellectual Property Rights, the Industrial Revolution, and the Beginnings of Modern Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 349-55, May.
  6. Tilmann Rave & Frank Goetzke & Mario Larch, 2011. "The Determinants of Environmental Innovations and Patenting: Germany Reconsidered," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 97, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  7. Brunt, Liam & Lerner, Josh & Nicholas, Tom, 2008. "Inducement Prizes and Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6917, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13294. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.