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Public Disclosure of Patent Applications, R&D, and Welfare

  • Aoki, R.
  • Spiegel, Y.

In Europe and in Japan, patent applications are publicly disclosed after 18 months from the filing date regardless of whether a patent has been or will be registered. In the U.S. in contrast, patent applications are publicly disclosed only when a patent is granted. In this paper we examine the consequences of this difference for (i) firm's R&D and patenting behavior, (ii) consumers' surplus and social welfare, and (iii) the incentives of firms to innovate in a setting where patent protection is imperfect in the sense that patent applications may be rejected and patents are not always upheld in court. The main conclusions are that public disclosure leads to fewer patent applications and fewer innovations, but for a given number of innovations, it raises the probability that new technologies will reach the product market and thereby enhances consumers' surplus and possibly total welfare as well.

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Paper provided by Tel Aviv in its series Papers with number 30-98.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:teavfo:30-98
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  1. Crampes, Claude & Langinier, Corinne, 2000. "Information Disclosure in the Renewal of Patents," Staff General Research Papers 10461, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," CEPR Discussion Papers 392, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Edwin Mansfield, 1986. "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(2), pages 173-181, February.
  4. Waterson, Michael, 1990. "The Economics of Product Patents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 860-69, September.
  5. O'DONOGHUE, Ted & SCOTCHMER, Suzanne & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Patent breadth, patent life, and the pace of technological progress," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1314, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Janusz A. Ordover, 1991. "A Patent System for Both Diffusion and Exclusion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 43-60, Winter.
  7. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
  8. Choi, Jay Pil, 1998. "Patent Litigation as an Information-Transmission Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1249-63, December.
  9. Hylton, Keith N, 1993. "Asymmetric Information and the Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 187-210, January.
  10. Thomas J. Prusa & Reiko Aoki, 1996. "Product Development and the Timing of Information Disclosure under U.S. and Japanese Patent Systems," Departmental Working Papers 199423, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  11. Horstmann, Ignatius & MacDonald, Glenn M & Slivinski, Alan, 1985. "Patents as Information Transfer Mechanisms: To Patent or (Maybe) Not to Patent," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 837-58, October.
  12. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  13. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  14. Carmen Matutes & Pierre Regibeau & Katharine Rockett, 1996. "Optimal Patent Design and the Diffusion of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 60-83, Spring.
  15. Merges, Robert P. & Nelson, Richard R., 1994. "On limiting or encouraging rivalry in technical progress: The effect of patent scope decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-24, September.
  16. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
  17. Suzanne Scotchmer & Jerry Green, 1990. "Novelty and Disclosure in Patent Law," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 131-146, Spring.
  18. Howard F. Chang, 1995. "Patent Scope, Antitrust Policy, and Cumulative Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 34-57, Spring.
  19. Arundel, Anthony & Kabla, Isabelle, 1998. "What percentage of innovations are patented? empirical estimates for European firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 127-141, June.
  20. Nancy T. Gallini, 1992. "Patent Policy and Costly Imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 52-63, Spring.
  21. Reiko Aoki & Jin-Li Hu, 1999. "Licensing vs. Litigation: The Effect of the Legal System on Incentives to Innovate," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 133-160, 03.
  22. Mukesh Eswaran & Nancy Gallini, 1996. "Patent Policy and the Direction of Technological Change," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(4), pages 722-746, Winter.
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