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A Patentability Requirement For Sequential Innovation

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  • Ted O'Donoghue

Abstract

This paper investigates patent protection when there is a long sequence of innovations and firms repeatedly supersede each other. There can be insufficient incentives for R&D if successful firms earn market profit only until competitors achieve something better. To solve this problem, patents must provide protection against future innovators. This paper proposes using a patentability requirement aminimuminnovation size required to get a patent toserve this purpose. I showthat a patentability requirement can stimulate R&D investment and increase dynamic efficiency. Intuitively, requiring firms to pursue larger innovations can prolong market incumbency because larger innovations are harder to achieve. Longer market incumbency then implies an increased reward to innovation, stimulating R&D investment.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1185.

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Date of creation: Mar 1997
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1185

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  1. Edwin Mansfield, 1984. "R&D and Innovation: Some Empirical Findings," NBER Chapters, in: R & D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 127-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Budd, Christopher & Harris, Christopher & Vickers, John, 1993. "A Model of the Evolution of Duopoly: Does the Asymmetry between Firms Tend to Increase or Decrease?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 543-73, July.
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  5. 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.
  6. Howard F. Chang, 1995. "Patent Scope, Antitrust Policy, and Cumulative Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 34-57, Spring.
  7. M.A. La Manna, Manfredi, 1992. "Optimal patent life vs optimal patentability standards," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 81-89, March.
  8. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
  9. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  10. Ted O'Donoghue & Suzanne Scotchmer & Jacques-François Thisse, 1998. "Patent Breadth, Patent Life, and the Pace of Technological Progress," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, 03.
  11. 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.
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  14. Jerry R. Green & Suzanne Scotchmer, 1995. "On the Division of Profit in Sequential Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 20-33, Spring.
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  16. 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.
  17. Carmen Matutes & Pierre Regibeau & Katharine Rockett, 1996. "Optimal Patent Design and the Diffusion of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 60-83, Spring.
  18. Stokey, Nancy L, 1995. "R&D and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 469-89, July.
  19. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  20. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Schuett, F., 2012. "Inventors and Imposters: An Analysis of Patent Examination with Self-Selection of Firms into R&D," Discussion Paper 2012-026, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  2. Jaffe, Adam B., 2000. "The U.S. patent system in transition: policy innovation and the innovation process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 531-557, April.
  3. Gilbert, Richard J. & Katz, Michael L., 2011. "Efficient division of profits from complementary innovations," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 443-454, July.
  4. Chen, Yongmin & Pan, Shiyuan & Zhang, Tianle, 2012. "(When) Do Stronger Patents Increase Continual Innovation?," MPRA Paper 40874, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Ghosh, Arghya & Kato, Takao & Morita, Hodaka, 2007. "Discrete Innovation, Continuous Improvement, and Competitive Pressure," IZA Discussion Papers 3132, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Chu, Angus C., 2007. "Optimal Patent Breadth: Quantifying the Effects of Increasing Patent Breadth," MPRA Paper 3910, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Guido Cozzi & Silvia Galli, 2009. "Science-Based R&D In Schumpeterian Growth," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 56(s1), pages 474-491, 09.
  8. Robert Hunt, 1999. "Patent reform: a mixed blessing for the U.S. economy?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Nov, pages 15-29.
  9. Christian Riis & Xianwen Shi, 2012. "Sequential Innovation and Optimal Patent Design," Working Papers tecipa-447, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  10. Robert M. Hunt, 1999. "Nonobviousness and the incentive to innovate: an economic analysis of intellectual property reform," Working Papers 99-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  11. Prokop, Jacek & Regibeau, Pierre & Rockett, Katharine, 2010. "Minimum quality standards and novelty requirements in a one-short development race," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 4(15), pages 1-49.
  12. Picard, Pierre M. & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2013. "Patent office governance and patent examination quality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 14-25.
  13. Nadolnyak, Denis A. & Sheldon, Ian M., 2002. "A Model Of Development Of Agricultural Biotechnological Innovations: Patent Policy Analysis," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19802, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

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