The Independent Invention Defense in Intellectual Property
Patents differ from other forms of intellectual property in that independent invention is not a defence to infringement. We argue that the patent rule is inferior in any industry where the cost of independently inventing a product is not too much less than (no less than half) the inventor's cost. First, the threat of entry by independent invention would induce patent holders to license the technology, lowering the market price. Second, a defence of independent invention would reduce the wasteful duplication of R&D effort that occurs in patent races. In either case, the threat of independent invention creates a mechanism that limits patent-holders' profits to levels commensurate with their costs of R&D. Copyright 2002 by The London School of Economics and Political Science
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