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Business And Financial Method Patents, Innovation, And Policy

  • Bronwyn H. Hall

Two court decisions in the 1990s are widely viewed as having opened the door to a flood of business method and financial patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office, and to have also impacted other patent offices around the world. A number of scholars, both legal and economic, have critiqued both the quality of these patents and the decisions themselves. This paper reviews the history of business method and financial patents briefly and then explores what economists know about the relationship between the patent system and innovation, in order to draw some tentative conclusions about their likely impact. It concludes by finding some consensus in the literature about the problems associated with this particular expansion of patentable subject matter, highlighting the remaining areas of disagreement, and reviewing the various policy recommendations.

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Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 56 (2009)
Issue (Month): s1 (09)
Pages: 443-473

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:56:y:2009:i:s1:p:443-473
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  1. Merges, Robert P, 2003. "The Uninvited Guest: Patents on Wall Street," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt46g5m6z3, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
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  9. Graham, Stuart J. H. & Hall, Bronwyn H. & Harhoff, Dietmar & Mowery, David C., 2002. "Post-Issue Patent "Quality Control": A Comparative Study of US Patent Re-examinations and European Patent Oppositions," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8bs830w9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  12. Sunil Kanwar & Robert Evenson, 2003. "Does intellectual property protection spur technological change?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(2), pages 235-264, April.
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  15. Yi Qian, 2007. "Do National Patent Laws Stimulate Domestic Innovation in a Global Patenting Environment? A Cross-Country Analysis of Pharmaceutical Patent Protection, 1978-2002," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 436-453, August.
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  28. Bronwyn H. Hall & Lee Manfred, 2007. "Innovation in non-bank payment systems," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
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