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Patent office in innovation policy: Nobody's perfect

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  • Caillaud, Bernard
  • Duchêne, Anne

Abstract

The number of patent applications and "bad" patents issued has been rising rapidly in recent years. Based on this trend, we study the overload problem within the Patent Office and its consequences on the firms' R&D incentives. We assume that the examination process of patent applications is imperfect, and that its quality is poorer under congestion. Depending on policy instruments such as submission fees and the toughness of the non-obviousness requirement, the system may result in a high-R&D equilibrium, in which firms self-select in their patent applications, or in an equilibrium with low R&D, opportunistic patent applications and the issuance of bad patents. Multiple equilibria often co-exist, which deeply undermines the effectiveness of policy instruments. We investigate the robustness of our conclusions as to how the value of patent protection is formalized, taking into consideration the introduction of a penalty system for rejected patent applications, as well as the role of commitment to a given patent protection policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Caillaud, Bernard & Duchêne, Anne, 2011. "Patent office in innovation policy: Nobody's perfect," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 242-252, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:29:y:2011:i:2:p:242-252
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark A. Lemley & Carl Shapiro, 2005. "Probabilistic Patents," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 75-98, Spring.
    2. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1999. "On the Optimality of the Patent Renewal System," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 181-196, Summer.
    3. Robert M. Hunt, 2004. "Patentability, Industry Structure, and Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 401-425, September.
    4. Francesca Cornelli & Mark Schankerman, 1999. "Patent Renewals and R&D Incentives," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 197-213, Summer.
    5. Robert M. Hunt, 1999. "Nonobviousness and the incentive to innovate: an economic analysis of intellectual property reform," Working Papers 99-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    6. Ted O'Donoghue, 1998. "A Patentability Requirement for Sequential Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 654-679, Winter.
    7. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2009. "Business And Financial Method Patents, Innovation, And Policy," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 56(s1), pages 443-473, September.
    8. Nancy T. Gallini, 2002. "The Economics of Patents: Lessons from Recent U.S. Patent Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 131-154, Spring.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cosnita-Langlais, Andreea & Tropeano, Jean-Philippe, 2012. "Do remedies affect the efficiency defense? An optimal merger-control analysis," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 58-66.
    2. NAGAOKA Sadao & YAMAUCHI Isamu, 2017. "Information Constraint of the Patent Office and Examination Quality: Evidence from the effects of initiation lags," Discussion papers 17040, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. Comino, Stefano & Graziano, Clara, 2015. "How many patents does it take to signal innovation quality?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 66-79.
    4. Andrew Eckert & Corinne Langinier, 2014. "A Survey Of The Economics Of Patent Systems And Procedures," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 996-1015, December.
    5. Yamauchi, Isamu & Nagaoka, Sadao, 2015. "Does the outsourcing of prior art search increase the efficiency of patent examination? Evidence from Japan," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(8), pages 1601-1614.
    6. Langinier, Corinne & Marcoul, Philippe, 2007. "Patents, Search of Prior Art, and Revelation of Information," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10489, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    7. Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2011. "The quality factor in patent systems," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(6), pages 1755-1793, December.
    8. Régibeau, P & Rockett, K & Mariam, S, 2012. "Patent Pendency, Learning Effects, and Innovation Importance at the US Patent Office," Economics Discussion Papers 2863, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    9. Schankerman, Mark & Schütt, Florian, 2016. "Screening for Patent Quality : Examination, Fees, and the Courts," Discussion Paper 2016-046, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    10. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-499 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:5:p:1005-1019 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Gaétan de Rassenfosse & Adam B. Jaffe, 2014. "Are Patent Fees Effective at Weeding out Low-quality Patents?," NBER Working Papers 20785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Yamauchi, Isamu & Nagaoka, Sadao, 2013. "Does the outsourcing of prior art search increase the efficiency of patent examination?," IIR Working Paper 13-12, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    14. Johannes Koenen & Martin Peitz, 2012. "The Economics of Pending Patents," Chapters,in: Recent Advances in the Analysis of Competition Policy and Regulation, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Vidya Atal & Talia Bar, 2014. "Patent Quality and a Two-Tiered Patent System," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 503-540, September.
    16. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-472 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-367 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00113503 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Florian Schuett, 2013. "Inventors and Impostors: An Analysis of Patent Examination with Self-Selection of Firms into R&D," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 660-699, September.
    20. Christian Le Bas & Julien Pénin, 2014. "Patents and innovation : Are the brakes broken, or how to restore patents’ dynamic efficiency ?," Working Papers of BETA 2014-02, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    21. Koenen, Johannes & Peitz, Martin, 2015. "Firm reputation and incentives to “milk” pending patents," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 18-29.

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