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Intellectual Property: When Is It the Best Incentive System?

  • Nancy Gallini and Suzanne Scotchmer.

Our objective in this paper is to review what economists have said about incentive schemes to promote R&D, including intellectual property. While we focus on environments in which other forms of protection are not available, we note that other protections can obviate the need for any formal reward system. In Section II, we compare intellectual property to alternative incentive schemes. In Section III we review optimal design issues for intellectual property, especially the question of patent breadth, and in Section IV we turn to the special problems that arise when innovation is cumulative. In Section V, we summarize the arguments for and against intellectual property. We comment on whether the design recommendations of economists can actually be implemented, and argue that IP regimes should be designed so that the subject matter of each one has relatively homogeneous needs for protection.

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Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley in its series Economics Working Papers with number E01-303.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:e01-303
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  1. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2000. "Delegating Investment in a Common-Value Project," Industrial Organization 9912001, EconWPA.
  2. 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.
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  8. 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.
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  10. Ted O'Donoghue & Suzanne Scotchmer & Jacques-Fran├žois Thisse, 1998. "Patent Breadth, Patent Life, and the Pace of Technological Progress," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, 03.
  11. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
  12. Stephen M Maurer & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2003. "The Independent Invention Defense in Intellectual Property," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000544, David K. Levine.
  13. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1988. "Full Extraction of the Surplus in Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1247-57, November.
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  16. Lee, Tom & Wilde, Louis L, 1980. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Reformulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 429-36, March.
  17. Carl Shapiro, 2004. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools and Standard Setting," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000539, David K. Levine.
  18. 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.
  19. Michael Kremer, 1997. "Patent Buy-Outs: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," NBER Working Papers 6304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Lerner, Josh & Merges, Robert P, 1998. "The Control of Technology Alliances: An Empirical Analysis of the Biotechnology Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 125-56, June.
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  22. Denicolo, Vincenzo, 1996. "Patent Races and Optimal Patent Breadth and Length," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 249-65, September.
  23. Nancy T. Gallini & Ralph A. Winter, 1985. "Licensing in the Theory of Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 237-252, Summer.
  24. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 1994. "Expropriation and Inventions: Appropriable Rents in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 190-209, March.
  25. Loury, Glenn C, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410, August.
  26. Minehart, Deborah & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1999. "Ex Post Regret and the Decentralized Sharing of Information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 114-131, April.
  27. Mark Schankerman, 1998. "How Valuable is Patent Protection? Estimates by Technology Field," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 77-107, Spring.
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  29. Wright, Brian Davern, 1983. "The Economics of Invention Incentives: Patents, Prizes, and Research Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 691-707, September.
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  33. Mukesh Eswaran & Nancy Gallini, 1996. "Patent Policy and the Direction of Technological Change," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(4), pages 722-746, Winter.
  34. Nancy T. Gallini & Brian D. Wright, 1990. "Technology Transfer under Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 147-160, Spring.
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