Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law
Most innovators stand on the shoulders of giants, and never more so than in the current evolution of high technologies, where almost all technical progress builds on a foundation provided by earlier innovators. Most economics literature on patenting and patent races has looked at innovations in isolation, without focusing on the externalities or spillovers that early innovators confer on later innovators. But the cumulative nature of research poses problems for the optimal design of patent law that are not addressed by that perspective. The challenge is to reward early innovators fully for the technological foundation they provide to later innovators, but to reward later innovators adequately for their improvements and new products as well. This paper investigates the use of patent protection and cooperative agreements among firms to protect incentives for cumulative research.
Volume (Year): 5 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/|
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html|
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.:
- Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990.
"Optimal Patent Length and Breadth,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
- Glenn C. Loury, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410.
- Michael L. Katz, 1986. "An Analysis of Cooperative Research and Development," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 527-543, Winter.
- 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.
- Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," CEPR Discussion Papers 392, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- repec:hoo:wpaper:e-89-27 is not listed on IDEAS
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:5:y:1991:i:1:p:29-41. 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: (Jane Voros)or (Michael P. Albert)
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.