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150 Years of Patent Office Practice

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  • Josh Lerner

Abstract

An extensive theoretical literature has examined the impact of information problems on interactions between government bodies and private firms. One little-explored empirical testing ground is the patent system. This paper examines the administrative practices of patent offices in sixty countries over a 150-year period. I show that the usage of patent renewal fees and other mechanisms to grant discretion to patentees is consistent with theoretical suggestions. Nations where information asymmetries between government officials and patentees are likely to be more prevalent-larger countries, wealthier economies, and those where international trade is more important-incorporate discretionary features into their patent systems more frequently. I also find evidence that policymakers are more likely to restrict patent office officials' flexibility and to divide the responsibility for determining patentability between the patent office and the courts when information problems are likely to be severe.

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  • Josh Lerner, 2000. "150 Years of Patent Office Practice," NBER Working Papers 7477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7477
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Internal Organization of Government," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Samaniego, Roberto M., 2013. "Knowledge spillovers and intellectual property rights," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 50-63.
    2. Chen, Qiang, 2008. "The effect of patent laws on invention rates: Evidence from cross-country panels," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 694-704, December.
    3. Alfons Palangkaraya & Paul H. Jensen & Elizabeth Webster, 2005. "Determinants of International Patent Examination Outcomes," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n06, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Shiyuan Pan & Heng-fu Zou & Tailong Li, 2010. "Patent Protection, Technological Change and Wage Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 437, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
    5. Rockett, Katharine, 2010. "Property Rights and Invention," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    6. Saiz, Patricio & Amengual, Rafael, 2016. "Knowledge Disclosure, Patent Management, and the Four-Stroke Engine Business," Working Papers in Economic History 2016/02, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
    7. Iain M. Cockburn & Samuel Kortum & Scott Stern, 2002. "Are All Patent Examiners Equal? The Impact of Examiner Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 8980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Benson, Christopher L. & Magee, Christopher L., 2014. "On improvement rates for renewable energy technologies: Solar PV, wind turbines, capacitors, and batteries," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 745-751.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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