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Innovation Fertility and Patent Design

  • Hugo A. Hopenhayn
  • Matthew F. Mitchell

It may be advantageous to provide a variety of kinds of patent protection to heterogenous innovations. Innovations which benefit society largely through their use as building blocks to future inventions may require a different scope of protection in order to be encouraged. We model the problem of designing an optimal patent menu (scope and length) when the fertility of an innovation in generating more innovations cannot be observed. The menu of patent scope can be implemented with mandated buyout fees. Evidence of heterogeneous fertility and patent obsolescence, keys to the model, are presented using patent data from the US.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7070.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7070.

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Date of creation: Apr 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7070
Note: PR
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  1. Nancy T. Gallini, 1992. "Patent Policy and Costly Imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 52-63, Spring.
  2. O'DONOGHUE, Ted & SCOTCHMER, Suzanne & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Patent breadth, patent life, and the pace of technological progress," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1314, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," CEPR Discussion Papers 392, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Pakes, Ariel S, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 755-84, July.
  5. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
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