Innovation, Fast Seconds, and Patent Policy
We develop a model of innovation in which entrepreneurs develop a new (differentiated) product market that is subsequently exploited by a well-established firm that "stretches" its brand to enter a new market as "fast second". In this setting, there is a positive externality to the pioneering efforts of the intitial entrants that may well increase with the number of such entrants. We develop a model that exhibits this externality and use it to evaluate the design of patent policy--specifically patent breadth--with a view to encouraging the optimal amount of initial entry.
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