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Anticommons and Optimal Patent Policy in a Model of Sequential Innovation

Author

Listed:
  • Llanes Gastón

    () (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

  • Trento Stefano

    () (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Abstract

We present a model of sequential innovation in which innovators use several research inputs to invent new goods. We extend work by Shapiro (2001) and Lerner and Tirole (2004) by studying the effects of increases in the number of patented research inputs on innovation incentives and optimal patent policy. We consider not only the effects on the incentives to invent final goods, but also on the incentives to invent research inputs (ex-ante effect). We find increasing complexity has a negative effect on innovation activity in the final goods sector when research inputs are complements. Either limiting market power through weaker patents or reducing the lack of coordination through patent pools may solve this problem. We also find the optimal patent breadth and show it is increasing in the elasticity of substitution between the inputs used in research and decreasing (increasing) in the complexity of the R&D process when research inputs are complements (substitutes).

Suggested Citation

  • Llanes Gastón & Trento Stefano, 2011. "Anticommons and Optimal Patent Policy in a Model of Sequential Innovation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-27, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:46
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jerry R. Green & Suzanne Scotchmer, 1995. "On the Division of Profit in Sequential Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 20-33, Spring.
    2. Carl Shapiro, 2001. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard Setting," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 119-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gastón Llanes & Stefano Trento, 2012. "Patent policy, patent pools, and the accumulation of claims in sequential innovation," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 50(3), pages 703-725, August.
    4. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    5. Nancy T. Gallini & Brian D. Wright, 1990. "Technology Transfer under Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 147-160, Spring.
    6. V.V. Chari & Larry E. Jones, 2000. "A reconsideration of the problem of social cost: Free riders and monopolists," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 16(1), pages 1-22.
    7. Bessen, James, 2004. "Holdup and licensing of cumulative innovations with private information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 321-326, March.
    8. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
    9. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gastón Llanes & Stefano Trento, 2012. "Patent policy, patent pools, and the accumulation of claims in sequential innovation," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 50(3), pages 703-725, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

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