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The Patent System as a Tool for Eroding Market Power

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  • Gabrovski, Miroslav

Abstract

The conventional viewpoint on the patent system is that it allocates market power in order to stimulate disclosure of information and create incentives for firms to innovate. This paper develops a dynamic equilibrium search model to show that, in sharp contrast to this traditional view, the patent system can erode, rather than allocate market power. This result can be obtained, regardless of whether or not it provides prior user rights, by incentivizing firms to patent and, at the same time, delivering a sufficiently weak patent protection. The patent system delivers incentives by punishing firms that choose not to patent (when there are no prior user rights) and by providing a strategic advantage to firms that patent (when there are prior user rights). I find that it may be optimal to set weak patent protection so as to induce only some firms to patent while others keep identical innovations secret. This result suggests that the patent system's ability to erode market power may be central to its capability to increase welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabrovski, Miroslav, 2015. "The Patent System as a Tool for Eroding Market Power," MPRA Paper 81330, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Sep 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:81330
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Patent; Secrecy; Competition; Market Power; Simultaneous Innovation; Search;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • 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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