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Open Source Software, Closed Source Software or Both: Impacts on Industry Growth and the Role of Intellectual Property Rights

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  • Sebastian von Engelhardt
  • Sushmita Swaminathan

Abstract

There is considerable debate regarding the use of intellectual property rights (IPR) to spur innovation in the software industry. In this paper we focus on the choice of intellectual property right regimes and industry growth. We begin by developing a growth optimal mixture of open source and closed source software. This optimal scenario is then used as a basis to examine the co-existence of open and closed source software within various institutional frameworks ranging from no protection, copyright to patent protection. Such an analysis is beneficial as it enables an objective comparison of the three scenarios under the assumption that both copyrights and patents serve the purpose for which they were designed. Our analysis, based on the existence or absence of spillovers, confirms that a co-existence is growth optimal for the industry. Further, we find that the move from no protection to copyright protection increases the maximum growth rate. However, despite assuming properly functioning patents, the benefits of moving from copyright to patent protection are less clear.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp799
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    Cited by:

    1. Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Institutions, culture, and open source," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
    2. Alexia Gaudeul, 2008. "Consumer Welfare and Market Structure in a Model of Competition between Open Source and Proprietary Software," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) 2008-31, Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intellectual Property rights; software; open source; spillovers; co-existence; innovative growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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