IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Impact of Uncertain Intellectual Property Rights on the Market For Ideas: Evidence From Patent Grant Delays

  • Joshua S. Gans
  • David H. Hsu
  • Scott Stern

This paper considers the impact of the intellectual property (IP) system on the timing of cooperation/licensing by start-up technology entrepreneurs. If the market for technology licenses is efficient, the timing of licensing is independent of whether IP has already been granted. In contrast, the need to disclosure complementary (yet unprotected) knowledge, asymmetric information, or search costs may retard efficient technology transfer. In these cases, reductions in uncertainty surrounding the scope and extent of IP rights may facilitate trade in the market for ideas. We employ a dataset combining information about cooperative licensing and the timing of patent allowances (the administrative event when patent rights are clarified). While pre-allowance licensing does occur, the hazard rate for achieving a cooperative licensing agreement significantly increases after patent allowance. Moreover, the impact of the patent system depends on the strategic and institutional environment in which firms operate. Patent allowance seems to play a particularly important role for technologies with longer technology lifecycles or that lack alternative mechanisms such as copyright, reputation, or brokers. The findings suggest that imperfections in the market for ideas may be important, and that formal IP rights may facilitate gains from technological trade.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13234.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2008. "The Impact of Uncertain Intellectual Property Rights on the Market for Ideas: Evidence from Patent Grant Delays," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(5), pages 982-997, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13234
Note: IO PR
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Joseph Farrell & Carl Shapiro, 2008. "How Strong Are Weak Patents?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1347-69, September.
  2. Thomas Hellmann, 2007. "The Role of Patents for Bridging the Science to Market Gap," NBER Chapters, in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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 265-90, October.
  4. Lerner, Josh & Zhu, Feng, 2007. "What is the impact of software patent shifts? Evidence from Lotus v. Borland," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 511-529, June.
  5. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, 09.
  6. Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2001. "The NBER Patent Citation Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," NBER Working Papers 8498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2004. "Patent Quality and Research Productivity: Measuring Innovation with Multiple Indicators," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 441-465, 04.
  8. Ashish Arora, 1995. "Licensing Tacit Knowledge: Intellectual Property Rights And The Market For Know-How," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 41-60.
  9. Aghion, P. & Tirole, J., 1993. "On the Management of Innovation," Working papers 93-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Michelle Gittelman & Bruce Kogut, 2003. "Does Good Science Lead to Valuable Knowledge? Biotechnology Firms and the Evolutionary Logic of Citation Patterns," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 366-382, April.
  11. Richard Nelson, 1962. "Introduction to "The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors"," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 1-16 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Harhoff, Dietmar & Wagner, Stefan, 2005. "Modelling the duration of patent examination at the European Patent Office," CEPR Discussion Papers 5283, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Scherer, F. M. & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2000. "Technology policy for a world of skew-distributed outcomes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 559-566, April.
  14. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Brent Goldfarb & Scott Shane & Marie Thursby, 2008. "Appropriability and Commercialization: Evidence from MIT Inventions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(5), pages 893-906, May.
  15. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 1994. "Expropriation and Inventions: Appropriable Rents in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 190-209, March.
  16. Lemley, Mark A. & Shapiro, Carl, 2004. "Probabilistic Patents," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt9xf1488p, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  17. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "The Management of Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1185-1209.
  18. Daniel Elfenbein, 2007. "Publications, Patents, and the Market for University Inventions," NBER Chapters, in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2000. "When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?," NBER Working Papers 7851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Joshua S. Cans & Scott Stern, 2000. "Incumbency and R&D Incentives: Licensing the Gale of Creative Destruction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(4), pages 485-511, December.
  21. Anand, Bharat N & Khanna, Tarun, 2000. "The Structure of Licensing Contracts," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 103-35, March.
  22. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2001. "Duration models: specification, identification and multiple durations," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 55, pages 3381-3460 Elsevier.
  23. Lanjouw, Jean O & Schankerman, Mark, 2001. "Characteristics of Patent Litigation: A Window on Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 129-51, Spring.
  24. Hall, Bronwyn H. & MacGarvie, Megan, 2010. "The private value of software patents," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 994-1009, September.
  25. Teece, David J., 1993. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 112-113, April.
  26. Johnson, Daniel K N & Popp, David, 2003. " Forced Out of the Closet: The Impact of the American Inventors Protection Act on the Timing of Patent Disclosure," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 96-112, Spring.
  27. Elfenbein, Daniel W., 2007. "Publications, patents, and the market for university inventions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 688-715, August.
  28. David H. Hsu, 2006. "Venture Capitalists and Cooperative Start-up Commercialization Strategy," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(2), pages 204-219, February.
  29. Lerner, Josh & Merges, Robert P, 1998. "The Control of Technology Alliances: An Empirical Analysis of the Biotechnology Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 125-56, June.
  30. Graham, Stuart J.H. & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2006. "Can Post-Grant Reviews Improve Patent System Design? A Twin Study of US and European Patents," CEPR Discussion Papers 5680, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  31. Katila, Riitta & Mang, Paul Y., 2003. "Exploiting technological opportunities: the timing of collaborations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 317-332, February.
  32. Beggs, A. W., 1992. "The licensing of patents under asymmetric information," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 171-191, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13234. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.