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

Patent Buy-Outs: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation

  • Michael Kremer

In 1839, the French government purchased the patent on the Daguerreotype process and" placed it in the public domain. This paper examines a mechanism under which governments" would use an auction to estimate the private value of patents and then offer to buy out patents at" this private value, times a fixed markup. The markup would correspond to the estimated typical" ratio of the social and private values of inventions -- perhaps two. Most patents purchased would" be placed in the public domain, but in order to induce bidders to reveal their valuations patents would be sold to the highest bidder. Such patent buy-outs could eliminate monopoly" price distortions and incentives for wasteful reverse engineering, while raising private incentives" for original research closer to their social value. However, patent buy-outs are potentially" vulnerable to collusion. Patent buy-outs may be particularly appropriate for pharmaceuticals."

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 6304.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics (November 1998): 1137-1167.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6304
Note: 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. Charles I. Jones & John C. Williams, . "Too Much of a Good Thing? The Economics of Investment in R&D," Working Papers 96005, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  2. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  3. Bernstein, Jeffrey I. & Nadiri, M. Ishaq, 1990. "Product Demand, Cost Of Production, Spillovers And The Social Rate Or Return To R&D," Working Papers 90-53, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
  5. Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H, 1988. "An Empirical Study of an Auction with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 865-83, December.
  6. Mark Johnston & Richard Zeckhauser, 1991. "The Australian Pharmaceutical Subsidy Gambit: Transmuting Deadweight Loss and Oligopoly Rents to Consumer Surplus," NBER Working Papers 3783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H & Wilson, Charles A, 1994. "Auctions for Oil and Gas Leases with an Informed Bidder and a Random Reservation Price," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1415-44, November.
  8. Bernstein, Jeffrey I. & Nadiri, M. Ishaq, 1988. "Interindustry R&D, Rates of Return and Production in High-Tech Industries," Working Papers 88-04, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-84, August.
  10. Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981. "The Value of Information in a Sealed-Bid Auction," Discussion Papers 462, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "Digging for Golden Carrots: An Analysis of Research Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 872-90, September.
  12. Spence, Michael, 1984. "Cost Reduction, Competition, and Industry Performance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 101-21, January.
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:6304. 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.