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Breakthrough technologies – Semiconductor, innovation and intellectual property

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Hoeren

    (Institute for Information, Telecommunication and Media Law (ITM), University of Münster (Germany).)

  • Francesca Guadagno

    (Economics and Statistics Division, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.)

  • Sacha Wunsch-Vincent

    (Economics and Statistics Division, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.)

Abstract

Semiconductor technology is at the origin of today’s digital economy. Its contribution to innovation, productivity and economic growth in the past four decades has been extensive. This paper analyzes how this breakthrough technology came about, how it diffused, and what role intellectual property (IP) played historically. The paper finds that the semiconductor innovation ecosystem evolved considerably over time, reflecting in particular the move from early - stage invention and first commercialization to mass production and diffusion. All phases relied heavily on contributions in fundamental science, linkages to public research and individual entrepreneurship. Government policy, in the form of demand-side and industrial policies were key. In terms of I P, patents were used intensively. However, they were often used as an effective means of sharing technology, rather than merely as a tool to block competitors. Antitrust policy helped spur key patent holders to set up liberal licensing policies. In contrast, and potentially as a cautionary tale for the future, the creation of new IP form s – the sui generis system to protect mask design - did not produce the desired outcome. Finally, copyright has gained in importance more recently.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Hoeren & Francesca Guadagno & Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, 2015. "Breakthrough technologies – Semiconductor, innovation and intellectual property," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 27, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
  • Handle: RePEc:wip:wpaper:27
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    File URL: http://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo_pub_econstat_wp_27.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Comino & Fabio M. Manenti & NIkolaus Thumm, 2017. "The Role of Patents in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). A survey of the Literature," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0212, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    semiconductors; innovation; patent; sui generis; copyright; intellectual property.;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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