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Patent law and complementary innovations

  • Ménière, Yann

This paper explores which patent policy should be applied to complementary innovations that are aggregated into broader technologies. I compare a setting in which complementary innovations must be bundled prior to patenting, with a second setting in which they can be patented separately. The first setting can improve static efficiency by avoiding the costs resulting from the scattering of complementary patents. But it also limits the disclosure of small innovations, which may lead to inefficient R&D cost duplications. A model capturing these effects shows that patenting complementary innovations separately is not efficient when innovations can be developed rapidly. This result justifies the enforcement of a severe "inventive step" or "non-obviousness" requirement in sectors where complementary innovations are frequent.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V64-4R8WK1N-1/2/a580efedb71e7dbc676d1f82b3135d4c
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 52 (2008)
Issue (Month): 7 (October)
Pages: 1125-1139

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:52:y:2008:i:7:p:1125-1139
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  1. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Efficient Patent Pools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 691-711, June.
  2. Stuart J. H. Graham & Bronwyn H. Hall & Dietmar Harhoff & David C. Mowery, 2002. "Post-Issue Patent "Quality Control": A Comparative Study of US Patent Re-examinations and European Patent Oppositions," NBER Working Papers 8807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. O'DONOGHUE, Ted & SCOTCHMER, Suzanne & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Patent breadth, patent life, and the pace of technological progress," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1314, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Jaffe, Adam B., 2000. "The U.S. patent system in transition: policy innovation and the innovation process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 531-557, April.
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