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The U.S. Patent System in Transition: Policy Innovation and the Innovation Process

  • Adam B. Jaffe

This paper surveys the major changes in patent policy and practice that have occurred in the last two decades in the U.S., and reviews the existing analyses by economists that attempt to measure the impacts these changes have had on the processes of technological change. It also reviews the broader theoretical and empirical literature that bears on the expected effects of changes in patent policy. Despite the significance of the policy changes and the wide availability of detailed data relating to patenting, robust conclusions regarding the empirical consequences for technological innovation of changes in patent policy are few. Possible reasons for these limited results are discussed, and possible avenues for future research are suggested.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7280.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7280.

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Date of creation: Aug 1999
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Publication status: published as Jaffe, Adam B. "The US Patent System In Transition: Policy Innovation And The Innovation Process," Research Policy, 2000, v29(4-5,Apr), 531-557.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7280
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  1. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1998. "Stronger protection or technological revolution: what is behind the recent surge in patenting?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 247-304, June.
  2. Lerner, Josh, 1995. "Patenting in the Shadow of Competitors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 463-95, October.
  3. Thomas J. Prusa & Reiko Aoki, 1996. "Product Development and the Timing of Information Disclosure under U.S. and Japanese Patent Systems," Departmental Working Papers 199423, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  4. Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
  5. Hopenhayn, H.A. & Mitchell, M.F., 1999. "Innovation Fertility and Patent Design," Papers 303, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
  6. Jean Olson Lanjouw, 1994. "Economic Consequences of a Changing Litigation Environment: The Case of Patents," NBER Working Papers 4835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Suzanne Scotchmer & Jerry Green, 1990. "Novelty and Disclosure in Patent Law," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 131-146, Spring.
  8. Arora, Ashish & Gambardella, Alfonso, 1994. "The changing technology of technological change: general and abstract knowledge and the division of innovative labour," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 523-532, September.
  9. Howard F. Chang, 1995. "Patent Scope, Antitrust Policy, and Cumulative Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 34-57, Spring.
  10. Adam B. Jaffe & Michael S. Fogarty & Bruce A. Banks, 1997. "Evidence from Patents and Patent Citations on the Impact of NASA and Other Federal Labs on Commercial Innovation," NBER Working Papers 6044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Scotchmer, Suzanne & Schankerman, Mark, 1999. "Damages and Injunctions in the Protection of Proprietary Research Tools," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt0dh221jq, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  12. Mark Schankerman, 1998. "How Valuable is Patent Protection? Estimates by Technology Field," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 77-107, Spring.
  13. Janusz A. Ordover, 1991. "A Patent System for Both Diffusion and Exclusion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 43-60, Winter.
  14. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  15. Griliches, Zvi, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  16. Waterson, Michael, 1990. "The Economics of Product Patents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 860-69, September.
  17. Aoki, R. & Spiegel, Y., 1998. "Public Disclosure of Patent Applications, R&D, and Welfare," Papers 30-98, Tel Aviv.
  18. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
  19. Joel Waldfogel, 1998. "Reconciling Asymmetric Information and Divergent Expectations Theories of Litigation," NBER Working Papers 6409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Jean O. Lanjouw, 1998. "The Introduction of Pharmaceutical Product Patents in India: "Heartless Exploitation of the Poor and Suffering"?," NBER Working Papers 6366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Paul Klemperer, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 113-130, Spring.
  22. Kitch, Edmund W, 1977. "The Nature and Function of the Patent System," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 265-90, October.
  23. Ted O'Donoghue, 1997. "A Patentability Requirement For Sequential Innovation," Discussion Papers 1185, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  24. Richard Jensen & Marie Thursby, 1998. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Tale of University Licensing," NBER Working Papers 6698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Jean O. Lanjouw & Josh Lerner, 1997. "The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: A Survey of the Empirical Literature," NBER Working Papers 6296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Jean O. Lanjouw & Ariel Pakes & Jonathan Putnam, 1996. "How to Count Patents and Value Intellectual Property: Uses of Patent Renewal and Application Data," NBER Working Papers 5741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Lanjouw, Jean O & Pakes, Ariel & Putnam, Jonathan, 1998. "How to Count Patents and Value Intellectual Property: The Uses of Patent Renewal and Application Data," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 405-32, December.
  29. 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.
  30. Jean LANJOUW & Josh LERNER, 1998. "The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: A Survey of the Empirical Literature," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 49-50, pages 223-246.
  31. Adam B. Jaffe & Josh Lerner, 1999. "Privatizing R&D: Patent Policy and the Commercialization of National Laboratory Technologies," NBER Working Papers 7064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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