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Patent Protection and Innovation Over 150 Years

  • Josh Lerner

The paper seeks to understand the impact of the patent system on innovation by examining shifts in the strength of patent protection across sixty countries and a 150-year period. An examination of 177 policy changes reveals that strengthening patent protection appears to have few positive effects on patent applications by entities in the country undertaking the policy change, whether filings in Great Britain or the nation making the policy change are considered. Cross-sectional analyses suggest that the impact of patent protection-enhancing shifts were greater in nations with weaker initial protection and greater economic development, consistent with economic theory. I address concerns about the endogeneity of these changes by employing an instrumental variable approach.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8977.

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Date of creation: Jun 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Lerner, Josh. "150 Years Of Patent Protection," American Economic Review, 2002, v92(2,May), 221-225.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8977
Note: CF PR
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  1. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2004. "The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 415-437, October.
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  13. Michael Kremer, 1997. "Patent Buy-Outs: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," NBER Working Papers 6304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Josh Lerner, 2002. "150 Years of Patent Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 221-225, May.
  15. Keith Maskus, 1998. "The international regulation of intellectual property," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 134(2), pages 186-208, June.
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  19. 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.
  20. Samuel Kortum & Josh Lerner, 1997. "Stronger Protection or Technological Revolution: What is Behind the Recent Surge in Patenting?," NBER Working Papers 6204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Kremer, Michael R., 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," Scholarly Articles 3693705, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  22. Michael Kremer, 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism For Encouraging Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1137-1167, November.
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  25. Brown, Stephen J. & Warner, Jerold B., 1980. "Measuring security price performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 205-258, September.
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