IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks


  • Ariel Pakes


In many countries holders of patents must pay an annual renewal fee in order to keep their patents in force. This paper uses data on the proportion of patents renewed, and the renewal fees faced by, post World War II cohorts of patents in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany, in conjunction with a model of patent holders' renewal decisions, to estimate the returns earned from holding patents in these countries. Since patents are often applied for at a nearly stage in the innovation process, the model allows agents to be uncertain about the sequence of returns that will be earned if the patent is kept inforce. Formally, then, the paper presents and solves a discrete choice optimal stochastic control model, derives the implications of the model on aggregate behaviour, and then estimates the parameters of the model from aggregate data. The estimates enable a detailed description of the evolution of the distribution of returns earned from holding patents over their life spans,and calculations of both; the annual returns earned from holding the patents still in force (or the patent stocks) in the alternative countries, and the distribution of the discounted value of returns earned from holding the patents in a cohort.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariel Pakes, 1984. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," NBER Working Papers 1340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1340
    Note: PR

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lester G. Telser, 1982. "A Theory of Innovation and Its Effects," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 69-92, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1340. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.