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Stronger Protection or Technological Revolution: What is Behind the Recent Surge in Patenting?

  • Samuel Kortum
  • Josh Lerner

We investigate the cause of an unprecedented surge of U.S. patenting over the past" decade. Conventional wisdom points to the establishment of the Court of Appeals of the" Federal Circuit by Congress in 1982. We examine whether this institutional change benefitted patent holders, explains the burst in U.S. patenting. Using both international and" domestic data on patent applications and awards, we conclude that the evidence is not favorable" to the conventional view. Instead, it appears that the jump in patenting reflects an increase in" U.S. innovation spurred by changes in the management of research.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6204.

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Date of creation: Sep 1997
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Publication status: published as Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Vol. 48 (June 1998): 247-304. Research Policy, Vol. 28 (January 1999): 1-22 (condensed version printedas "What is Behind the Recent Surge in Parenting?").
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6204
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