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The software patent experiment

Author

Listed:
  • James Bessen
  • Robert M. Hunt

Abstract

Over the past two decades, the scope of technologies that can be patented has been expanded to include many items previously thought unsuitable for patenting, for example, computer software. Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants 20,000 or more software patents a year. Conventional wisdom holds that extending patent protection to computer programs will stimulate research and development and, thus, increase the rate of innovation. In \\"The Software Patent Experiment,\\" Bob Hunt and Jim Bessen investigate whether this has, in fact, happened. They describe the spectacular growth in software patenting, who obtains patents, and the relationship between a sharp focus on software patenting and firms' investment in R&D.

Suggested Citation

  • James Bessen & Robert M. Hunt, 2004. "The software patent experiment," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q3, pages 22-32.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpbr:y:2004:i:q3:p:22-32
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Bessen & Robert M. Hunt, 2007. "An Empirical Look at Software Patents," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 157-189, March.
    2. Arora, Ashish & Ceccagnoli, Marco & Cohen, Wesley M., 2008. "R&D and the patent premium," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1153-1179, September.
    3. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. James Bessen, 2004. "Patent Thickets: Strategic Patenting of Complex Technologies," Working Papers 0401, Research on Innovation.
    5. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Isabelle Liotard, 2007. "Les nouvelles facettes de la propriété intellectuelle : stratégies, attaques et menaces," Post-Print hal-00196848, HAL.
    2. Encaoua, David & Guellec, Dominique & Martinez, Catalina, 2006. "Patent systems for encouraging innovation: Lessons from economic analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1423-1440, November.
    3. Emmanuel Duguet & Claire Lelarge, 2004. "Les brevets incitent-ils les entreprises industrielles à innover ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 380(1), pages 35-61.
    4. Sebastian von Engelhardt & Sushmita Swaminathan, 2008. "Open Source Software, Closed Source Software or Both: Impacts on Industry Growth and the Role of Intellectual Property Rights," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 799, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. HansK. Hvide, 2009. "The Quality of Entrepreneurs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1010-1035, July.
    6. Robert M. Hunt, 2007. "Economics and the design of patent systems," Working Papers 07-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    7. Hvide, Hans K., 2004. "Firm Size and the Quality of Entrepreneurs," Discussion Papers 2004/9, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    8. Seppä, Arto, 2006. "Open Source in Finnish Software Companies," Discussion Papers 1002, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.

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