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Patent Pools and the Direction of Innovation - Evidence from the 19th-century Sewing Machine Industry

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  • Ryan L. Lampe
  • Petra Moser

Abstract

Patent pools allow a group of firms to combine their patents as if they were a single firm. Theoretical models predict that pools encourage innovation in pool technologies, albeit at the cost of innovation in substitutes. Empirical evidence is scarce because modern pools are too recent to allow empirical analyses. This article examines data on patents and innovations by new firms for a historical pool in the sewing machine industry (1856-1877) to examine effects on innovation. Contrary to theoretical predictions, this analysis suggests that pools may discourage innovation in pool technologies and shift R&D towards technologically inferior substitutes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan L. Lampe & Petra Moser, 2011. "Patent Pools and the Direction of Innovation - Evidence from the 19th-century Sewing Machine Industry," NBER Working Papers 17573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17573
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Petra Moser, 2005. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1214-1236, September.
    2. Dequiedt, V. & Versaevel, B., 2004. "Patent pools and the dynamic incentives to R&D," Working Papers 200412, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    3. Hall, B. & Jaffe, A. & Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," Papers 2001-29, Tel Aviv.
    4. Ryan L. Lampe & Petra Moser, 2009. "Do Patent Pools Encourage Innovation? Evidence from the 19th-Century Sewing Machine Industry," NBER Working Papers 15061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Usher, Abbott Payson, 1956. "The United States Patent System: Legal and Economic Conflicts in American Patent History. By Floyd L. Vaughan. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1956. Pp. xvi, 355. $8.50," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 412-414, September.
    6. Jaskold Gabszewicz, J. & Thisse, J. -F., 1979. "Price competition, quality and income disparities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 340-359, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Harper, 2014. "Property rights as a complex adaptive system: how entrepreneurship transforms intellectual property structures," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 335-355, April.
    2. Dequiedt, Vianney & Versaevel, Bruno, 2013. "Patent pools and dynamic R&D incentives," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 59-69.
    3. Lartey, Theophilus & Danso, Albert & Owusu-Agyei, Samuel, 2020. "CEOs' market sentiment and corporate innovation: The role of financial uncertainty, competition and capital intensity," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies
    • N61 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N81 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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