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Runner-up Patents: Is Monopoly Inevitable?

  • Emeric Henry

Exclusive patents sacrifice product competition to provide firms incentives to innovate. We characterize an alternative mechanism whereby later inventors are allowed to share the patent if they discover within a certain time period of the first inventor. These runner-up patents increase social welfare under very general conditions. Furthermore, we show that the time window during which later inventors can share the patent should become a new policy tool at the disposal of the designer. This instrument will be used in a socially optimal mix with the breadth and length of the patent and could allow sorting between more or less efficient firms. Copyright © The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics" 2010 .

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 112 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 417-440

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:112:y:2010:i:2:p:417-440
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  1. 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.
  2. Petra Moser, 2005. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1214-1236, September.
  3. 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.
  4. Denicolo, Vincenzo, 1996. "Patent Races and Optimal Patent Breadth and Length," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 249-65, September.
  5. 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.
  6. Maurer, Stephen M & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2002. "The Independent Invention Defence in Intellectual Property," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(276), pages 535-47, November.
  7. Vincenzo Denicolo & Luigi A. Franzoni, 2010. "On the Winner-Take-All Principle in Innovation Races," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1133-1158, 09.
  8. Loury, Glenn C, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410, August.
  9. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela, 2001. "The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 542-558, June.
  10. Szymanski, Stefan & Valletti, Tommaso M., 2005. "Incentive effects of second prizes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 467-481, June.
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