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The Optimal Life of a Patent



One of the important peculiarities of information is that it is expensive to produce but cheap to reproduce. How does a price system react to this phenomenon? One reaction will be to avoid the production of information altogether. Alternatively, firms may decide to keep their information to themselves. In other cases the price system breaks down into imperfect competition. All three of these laissez-faire reactions are inefficient and it may be argued that it is desirable to impose social controls like a patent system or government control on the market for information. In the present paper we discuss some economic aspects of a patent system.

Suggested Citation

  • William D. Nordhaus, 1967. "The Optimal Life of a Patent," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 241, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:241

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Grönqvist, Charlotta, 2009. "Empirical studies on the private value of Finnish patents," Scientific Monographs, Bank of Finland, number 2009_041, November.
    2. Burke, Paul F. & Reitzig, Markus, 2007. "Measuring patent assessment quality--Analyzing the degree and kind of (in)consistency in patent offices' decision making," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1404-1430, November.
    3. Markus Reitzig, 2004. "The private values of 'thickets' and 'fences': towards an updated picture of the use of patents across industries," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(5), pages 457-476.
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:15-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gamba, Simona, 2017. "The Effect of Intellectual Property Rights on Domestic Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 15-27.
    6. Fischer, Timo & Leidinger, Jan, 2014. "Testing patent value indicators on directly observed patent value—An empirical analysis of Ocean Tomo patent auctions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 519-529.
    7. Hans Schedl & Guido von Scheffer & Dirk Loop & Holger Himmel & Sven Mussler, 2005. "Patente als Sicherheiten bei der Kreditvergabe," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 58(07), pages 21-31, April.
    8. Reitzig, Markus, 2003. "What determines patent value?: Insights from the semiconductor industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 13-26, January.

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