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Patent costs and the value of inventions: Explaining patenting behaviour between England, Ireland and Scotland, 1617-1852

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  • Billington, Stephen D.

Abstract

Ascertaining whether patents encourage invention necessitates understanding the incentives inventors respond to. The British patent system prior to its reform in 1852 was cumbersome and expensive. Whether it facilitated or delayed the Industrial Revolution is hotly debated. This paper's contribution is to examine the incentives to patent, and the characteristics of patentees, by observing the entire population of British patents granted up to the patent reforms of 1852. I find inventors patented widely because they had valuable inventions. Their value was positively associated with the skills and wealth of patentees. Inventors responded to demand-side conditions, and the system's expense did not hinder invention.

Suggested Citation

  • Billington, Stephen D., 2018. "Patent costs and the value of inventions: Explaining patenting behaviour between England, Ireland and Scotland, 1617-1852," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2018-10, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:qucehw:201810
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Incentives; Innovation; Patents; Patent Quality; Industrial Revolution;

    JEL classification:

    • N74 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • 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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