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Economics of Patents: An Overview, The

Listed author(s):
  • Langinier, Corinne
  • Moschini, GianCarlo

In this paper, we review the economic effects of intellectual property rights and specifically address the economics of the patent system. The production and dissemination of new knowledge is fraught with market failures because knowledge is a public good. Patents provide a second-best solution to the resulting appropriability problem. We review the main benefits and costs of the patent system, focusing on the role that patents play in providing incentives for innovation, in promoting the dissemination of knowledge, and in helping technology transfer and commercialization of new technology. From a more normative perspective, we address the questions of what the features of an optimal patent system are and whether the patent system is socially desirable. We examine the problem of the optimal length and scope of patent protection, both for the case of a single innovation and for the richer case of cumulative innovations. Finally, we review the issues related to how the patent system influences the market structure and research and development investments.

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File URL: http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/papers/paper_2061.pdf
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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers Archive with number 2061.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2002
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:2061
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Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070

Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  3. Dasgupta, Partha & Maskin, Eric, 1987. "The Simple Economics of Research Portfolios," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 581-595, September.
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  12. Kitch, Edmund W, 1977. "The Nature and Function of the Patent System," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 265-290, October.
  13. Paula E. Stephan, 1996. "The Economics of Science," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1199-1235, September.
  14. Gilbert, R. & Shapiro, C., 1988. "Optimal Patent Length And Breadth," Papers 28, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  15. Mazzoleni, Roberto & Nelson, Richard R., 1998. "The benefits and costs of strong patent protection: a contribution to the current debate," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 273-284, July.
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  17. Machlup, Fritz & Penrose, Edith, 1950. "The Patent Controversy in the Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 1-29, May.
  18. O'DONOGHUE, Ted & SCOTCHMER, Suzanne & THISSE, Jacques-François, "undated". "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).
  19. Gilbert, Richard J & Newbery, David M G, 1982. "Preemptive Patenting and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 514-526, June.
  20. Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1983. "Uncertain Innovation and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 741-748, September.
  21. 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.
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  23. Kamien, Morton I & Schwartz, Nancy L, 1974. "Patent Life and R & D Rivalry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 183-187, March.
  24. Fudenberg, Drew & Gilbert, Richard & Stiglitz, Joseph & Tirole, Jean, 1983. "Preemption, leapfrogging and competition in patent races," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-31, June.
  25. Scherer, F M, 1972. "Nordhaus' Theory of Optimal Patent Life: A Geometric Reinterpretation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 422-427, June.
  26. Wright, Brian Davern, 1983. "The Economics of Invention Incentives: Patents, Prizes, and Research Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 691-707, September.
  27. 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.
  28. M.A. La Manna, Manfredi, 1992. "Optimal patent life vs optimal patentability standards," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 81-89, March.
  29. Denicolo, Vincenzo, 1996. "Patent Races and Optimal Patent Breadth and Length," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 249-265, September.
  30. Pankaj Tandon, 1983. "Rivalry and the Excessive Allocation of Resources to Research," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 152-165, Spring.
  31. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
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