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The Patent Paradox Revisited: An Empirical Study of Patenting in the US Semiconductor Industry, 1979-95

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  • Bronwyn Hall
  • Rosemaire Ham Ziedonis

Abstract

This paper examines the patenting behavior of firms in an industry characterized by rapid technological change and cumulative innovation. Recent survey evidence suggests that semiconductor firms do not rely heavily on patents to appropriate the returns to R&D, despite the strengthening of US patent rights in the early 1980s. Yet the propensity of semiconductor firms to patent has risen dramatically over the same period. This paper explores this apparent paradox by conducting interviews with industry representatives and analyzing the patenting behavior of approximately 100 US semiconductor firms during a period that spans the pro-patent shift in the US legal environment. The results suggest that the strengthening of US patent rights spawned patent portfolio races among capital-intensive firms, but also may have facilitated entry by specialized design firms during this period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 2000-W16.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2000
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:2000-w16

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Related research

Keywords: Patents; IPR; semiconductor industry; cumulative R&D;

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  1. Zvi Griliches, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 3301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gourieroux Christian & Monfort Alain & Trognon A, 1982. "Pseudo maximum lilelihood methods : applications to poisson models," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8203, CEPREMAP.
  3. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1998. "International Knowledge Flows: Evidence from Patent Citation," Papers, Tel Aviv 11-98, Tel Aviv.
  4. 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.
  5. O'DONOGHUE, Ted & SCOTCHMER, Suzanne & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Patent breadth, patent life, and the pace of technological progress," CORE Discussion Papers RP, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) -1314, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Jean O. Lanjouw & Josh Lerner, 1996. "Preliminary Injunctive Relief: Theory and Evidence from Patent Litigation," NBER Working Papers 5689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dietmar Harhoff & Francis Narin & F. M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1999. "Citation Frequency And The Value Of Patented Inventions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 511-515, August.
  8. Ashish Arora, 1995. "Licensing Tacit Knowledge: Intellectual Property Rights And The Market For Know-How," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 41-60.
  9. 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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