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Patent reform: a mixed blessing for the U.S. economy?

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  • Robert M. Hunt

Abstract

The 1980s represented a period of dramatic change in the design and enforcement of U.S. intellectual property law. Many of these changes were adopted in the hopes of stimulating private research and development and improving the technological competitiveness of American industries. This article examines the effects of an especially important aspect of these changes: many more inventions qualify for patent protection than before. While it seems logical that making patents easier to obtain will encourage more inventive activity, economic analysis reveals this is not always true, and it is less likely to be true in industries that innovate rapidly.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert M. Hunt, 1999. "Patent reform: a mixed blessing for the U.S. economy?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Nov, pages 15-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpbr:y:1999:i:nov:p:15-29
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    File URL: http://www.phil.frb.org/files/br/brnd99rh.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-918, December.
    2. Hall, B.H., 1999. "Innovation and Market Value," Economics Papers 1999-w3, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    3. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Zvi Griliches, 1984. "R&D, Patents, and Productivity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril84-1, January.
    5. Charles I. Jones & John C. Williams, 1998. "Measuring the Social Return to R&D," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1119-1135.
    6. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
    7. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. Leonard I. Nakamura, 1999. "Intangibles: what put the new in the new economy?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jul, pages 3-16.
    10. Ted O'Donoghue, 1998. "A Patentability Requirement for Sequential Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 654-679, Winter.
    11. Pakes, Ariel, 1985. "On Patents, R&D, and the Stock Market Rate of Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 390-409, April.
    12. Mark Schankerman, 1998. "How Valuable is Patent Protection? Estimates by Technology Field," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 77-107, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Adam P. Balcerzak & Elżbieta Rogalska, 2011. "The Significance of Intellectual Protection Rights System in the Knowledge Based Economy," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 27.

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    Keywords

    Patents;

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