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Business Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy

  • Bronwyn H. Hall

The trickle of business method patents issued by the United States Patent Office became a flood after the State Street Bank decision in 1998. Many scholars, both legal and economic, have critiqued both the quality of these patents and the decision itself. This paper discusses the likely impact of these patents on innovation. It first reviews the facts about business method and internet patents briefly and then explores what economists know about the relationship between the patent system and innovation. It concludes by finding some consensus in the literature about the problems associated with this particular expansion of patentable subject matter, highlighting remaining areas of disagreement, and suggesting where there are major gaps in our understanding of the impact of these patents.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9717.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9717.

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Date of creation: May 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9717
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  1. Jean Olson Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2001. "Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights," NBER Working Papers 8656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jean Olson Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2001. "Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights," STICERD - Economics of Industry Papers 30, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Edwin Mansfield, 1986. "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(2), pages 173-181, February.
  4. Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not)," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
  5. Walter G. Park & Juan Carlos Ginarte, 1997. "Intellectual Property Rights And Economic Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(3), pages 51-61, 07.
  6. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Graham, Stuart J. H. & Harhoff, Dietmar & Mowery, David C., 2003. "Prospects for Improving U.S. Patent Quality via Post-grant Opposition," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt4wq4g70r, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Petra Moser, 2005. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1214-1236, September.
  8. Lanjouw, Jean O & Schankerman, Mark, 2001. "Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights," CEPR Discussion Papers 3093, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Robert M. Hunt, 2001. "You can patent that? Are patents on computer programs and business methods good for the new economy?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q1, pages 5-15.
  10. Jonathan Levin & Richard Levin, . "Patent Oppositions," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1005, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
  11. Diallo, Barrou, 2003. "Historical perspectives on IP protection for software in selected countries worldwide," World Patent Information, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 19-25, March.
  12. 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.
  13. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. Jean O. Lanjouw & Iain Cockburn, 2000. "Do Patents Matter?: Empirical Evidence after GATT," NBER Working Papers 7495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Sabourin, David & Baldwin, John R. & Hanel, Peter, 2000. "Determinants of Innovative Activity in Canadian Manufacturing Firms: The Role of Intellectual Property Rights," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2000122e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  16. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1996. "Protecting Early Innovators: Should Second-Generation Products Be Patentable?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 322-331, Summer.
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  1. Socio-Economics of Innovation

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