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

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  • Adam B. Jaffe

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam B. Jaffe, 1999. "The U.S. Patent System in Transition: Policy Innovation and the Innovation Process," NBER Working Papers 7280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7280
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jaffe, Adam B & Fogarty, Michael S & Banks, Bruce A, 1998. "Evidence from Patents and Patent Citations on the Impact of NASA and Other Federal Labs on Commercial Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 183-205, June.
    2. Hopenhayn, H.A. & Mitchell, M.F., 1999. "Innovation Fertility and Patent Design," Papers 303, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
    3. Lanjouw, J.O., 1997. "The Introduction of Pharmaceutical Product Patents in India: "Heartless Exploitation of the Poor and Suffering"?," Papers 775, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    4. Waldfogel, Joel, 1998. "Reconciling Asymmetric Information and Divergent Expectations Theories of Litigation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 451-476, October.
    5. 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.
    6. Aoki, Reiko & Prusa, Thomas J., 1996. "Product Development and the Timing of Information Disclosure under U.S. and Japanese Patent Systems," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 233-249, September.
    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. 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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    12. Jean Lanjouw & Josh Lerner, 1998. "The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: A Survey of the Empirical Literature," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 49-50, pages 223-246.
    13. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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