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A Patentability Requirement For Sequential Innovation

  • Ted O'Donoghue

This paper investigates patent protection when there is a long sequence of innovations and firms repeatedly supersede each other. There can be insufficient incentives for R&D if successful firms earn market profit only until competitors achieve something better. To solve this problem, patents must provide protection against future innovators. This paper proposes using a patentability requirement aminimuminnovation size required to get a patent toserve this purpose. I showthat a patentability requirement can stimulate R&D investment and increase dynamic efficiency. Intuitively, requiring firms to pursue larger innovations can prolong market incumbency because larger innovations are harder to achieve. Longer market incumbency then implies an increased reward to innovation, stimulating R&D investment.

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File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1185.pdf
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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1185.

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Date of creation: Mar 1997
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1185
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  1. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 8904, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  4. M.A. La Manna, Manfredi, 1992. "Optimal patent life vs optimal patentability standards," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 81-89, March.
  5. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
  6. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth," NBER Working Papers 3099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stokey, Nancy L, 1995. "R&D and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 469-89, July.
  8. Davidson, C. & Segerstrom, P., 1991. "Patent Enforcement and Economic Growth," Papers 9004, Michigan State - Econometrics and Economic Theory.
  9. O'DONOGHUE, Ted & SCOTCHMER, Suzanne & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Patent breadth, patent life, and the pace of technological progress," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1314, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Edwin Mansfield, 1984. "R&D and Innovation: Some Empirical Findings," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 127-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Green, J.R. & Scotchmer, S., 1993. "On the Division of Profit in Sequential Innovation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1638, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. 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.
  13. Reinganum, Jennifer R., . "Innovation and Industry Evolution," Working Papers 426, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  14. Carmen Matutes & Pierre Regibeau & Katharine Rockett, 1996. "Optimal Patent Design and the Diffusion of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 60-83, Spring.
  15. Gilbert, Richard J & Newbery, David M G, 1982. "Preemptive Patenting and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 514-26, June.
  16. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. 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.
  18. Budd, Christopher & Harris, Christopher & Vickers, John, 1993. "A Model of the Evolution of Duopoly: Does the Asymmetry between Firms Tend to Increase or Decrease?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 543-73, July.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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