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The Independent Invention Defence in Intellectual Property

  • Maurer, Stephen M
  • Scotchmer, Suzanne

Patents differ from other forms of intellectual property in that independent invention is not a defence to infringement. We argue that the patent rule is inferior in any industry where the cost of independently inventing a product is not too much less than (no less than half) the inventor's cost. First, the threat of entry by independent invention would induce patent holders to license the technology, lowering the market price. Second, a defence of independent invention would reduce the wasteful duplication of R&D effort that occurs in patent races. In either case, the threat of independent invention creates a mechanism that limits patent-holders' profits to levels commensurate with their costs of R&D. Copyright 2002 by The London School of Economics and Political Science

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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 69 (2002)
Issue (Month): 276 (November)
Pages: 535-47

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:69:y:2002:i:276:p:535-47
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  1. Hopenhayn, H.A. & Mitchell, M.F., 1999. "Innovation Fertility and Patent Design," Papers 303, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
  2. La Manna, Manfredi & Macleod, Ross & de Meza, David, 1989. "The case for permissive patents," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1427-1443, September.
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  4. Gallini, Nancy T, 1984. "Deterrence by Market Sharing: A Strategic Incentive for Licensing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 931-41, December.
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  7. Häckner, Jonas, 1999. "A Note on Price and Quantity Competition in Differentiated Oligopolies," Research Papers in Economics 1999:9, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  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. 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.
  10. Wright, Brian Davern, 1983. "The Economics of Invention Incentives: Patents, Prizes, and Research Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 691-707, September.
  11. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Mitchell, Matthew F, 2001. "Innovation Variety and Patent Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 152-66, Spring.
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