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The Patent Paradox Revisited: Determinants of Patenting in the US Semiconductor Industry, 1980-94

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  • Bronwyn H. Hall and Marie Ham.

Abstract

This paper examines the patenting behavior of firms in an industry characterized by rapid technological change and cumulative innovation. Recent evidence suggests that semiconductor firms do not rely heavily on patents, despite the strengthening of US patent rights in the early 1980s. Yet the propensity of semiconductor firms to patent has risen dramatically over the past decade. This paper explores this apparent paradox by analyzing the patenting activities of almost 100 US semiconductor firms during 1980-94. The results suggest that stronger patents may have facilitated entry by firms in niche product markets, while spawning "patent portfolio races" among capital-intensive firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Bronwyn H. Hall and Marie Ham., 1999. "The Patent Paradox Revisited: Determinants of Patenting in the US Semiconductor Industry, 1980-94," Economics Working Papers E99-268, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:e99-268
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1998. "Stronger protection or technological revolution: what is behind the recent surge in patenting?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 247-304, June.
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    6. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Carl Shapiro, 2001. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard Setting," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 119-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Enrique Schroth & Dezsö Szalay, 2010. "Cash Breeds Success: The Role of Financing Constraints in Patent Races," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(1), pages 73-118.
    3. Macdonald, Stuart, 2004. "When means become ends: considering the impact of patent strategy on innovation," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 135-158, March.
    4. Hirukawa, Masayuki & Ueda, Masako, 2008. "Venture Capital and Innovation: Which is First?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7090, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Jiri Schwarz & Martin Stepanek, 2016. "Patents: A Means to Innovation or Strategic Ends?," Working Papers IES 2016/08, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Apr 2016.
    6. Mario Calderini & Andrea Giannaccari, 2006. "Standardisation in the ICT sector: The (complex) interface between antitrust and intellectual property," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(6), pages 543-567.
    7. Paul A. David, 2005. "Can ‘Open Science’ be Protected from the Evolving Regime of IPR Protections?," Industrial Organization 0502010, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • M3 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising

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