nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2008‒10‒28
eleven papers chosen by
Roland Kirstein
Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

  1. Firms' contribution to open source software and the dominant skilled user By Nicolas Jullien; Jean-Benoît Zimmermann
  2. Contracts and Motivations. The Case of Open Source By Marcello Basili; Antonio Nicita; Maria Alessandra Rossi
  3. Microstructure of Collaboration: The Network of Open Source Software By Chaim Fershtman; Neil Gandal
  4. Informational Hold-Up, Disclosure Policy, and Career Concerns on the Example of Open Source Software Development By Marc Blatter; Andras Niedermayer
  5. The TRIPS Agreement and Transfer of Climate-Change-Related Technologies to Developing Countries By Matthew Littleton
  6. Military R&D: the productivity puzzle By Ruttan, Vernon W.
  7. Nanotechnology Publications and Patents: A Review of Social Science Studies and Search Strategies By Huang, Can; Notten, Ad; Rasters, Nico
  8. Determinants of patent withdrawals: evidence from a sample of Italian applications with the EPO By Sterlacchini, Alessandro; Schettino, Francesco
  9. Searching for Innovations ? The Technological Determinants of Acquisitions in the Pharmaceutical Industry By Gautier Duflos; Etienne Pfister
  10. What Makes Them Tick? Employee Motives and Firm Innovation By Henry Sauermann; Wesley M. Cohen
  11. Public Funding for Research into Specialty Crops By Alston, Julian M.; Pardey, Philip G.

  1. By: Nicolas Jullien (Marsouin - Telecom Bretagne); Jean-Benoît Zimmermann (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - CNRS : UMR6579)
    Abstract: : Free/libre or open-source software (FLOSS) is nowadays produced not only by individual benevolent developers but, in a growing proportion, by firms that hire programmers for their own objectives of development in open source or for contributing to open-source projects in the context of dedicated communities. A recent literature has focused on the question of the business models explaining how and why firms may draw benefits from such involvement and their connected activities. They can be considered as the building blocks of a new modus operandi of an industry, built on an alternative approach to intellectual property management. Its prospects will depend on both the firms' willingness to rally and its ability to compete with the traditional “proprietary” approach. As a matter of fact, firms' involvement in FLOSS, while growing, remains very contrasting, depending on the nature of the products and the characteristics of the markets. The aim of this paper is to emphasize that, beside factors like the importance of software as a core competence of the firm, the role of users on the related markets - and more precisely their level of skills - may provide a major explanation of such diversity. We introduce the concept of the dominant skilled user and we set up a theoretical model to better understand how it may condition the nature and outcome of the competition between a FLOSS firm and a proprietary firm. We discuss these results in the light of empirical stylized facts drawn from the recent trends in the software industry
    Keywords: Software ; Open Source ; Intellectual Property ; Competition ; Users
    Date: 2008–10–20
  2. By: Marcello Basili; Antonio Nicita; Maria Alessandra Rossi
    Abstract: The literature on Open Source phenomenon has revealed the crucial role played by both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. However an analysis attempting to formally explore this interplay is still missing. In this paper, we try to fill the gap by introducing intrinsic motivations in standard principal-agent model, focusing on the case of Open Source Software (OSS). We show that, if developers’ intrinsic motivation is sufficiently high, paying developers to work on OSS projects allows the firm to induce a desired level of workers’ effort at a lower cost compared to the standard case of monetary incentives and sanctions coupled with costly monitoring.
    Keywords: extrinsic and intrisic motivations, agency contracts, open-source software, open-source software developers
    JEL: O32 M52 M54 O33 O31 M12
    Date: 2008–10
  3. By: Chaim Fershtman (Department of Economics, Tel Aviv University,); Neil Gandal (Department of Public Policy, Tel Aviv University)
    Abstract: The open source model is a form of software development with source code that is typically made available to all interested parties. At the core of this process is a decentralized production process: open source software development is done by a network of unpaid software developers. Using data from, the largest repository of Open Source Software (OSS) projects and contributors on the Internet, we construct two related networks: A Project network and a Contributor network. Knowledge spillovers may be closely related to the structure of such networks, since contributors who work on several projects likely exchange information and knowledge. Defining the number of downloads as output we finds that (i) additional contributors are associated with an increase in output, but that additional contributors to projects in the giant component are associated with greater output gains than additional contributors to projects outside of the giant component; (ii) Betweenness centrality of the project is positively associated with the number of downloads. (iii) Closeness centrality of the project appears also to be positively associated with downloads, but the effect is not statistically significant over all specifications. (iv) Controlling for the correlation between these two measures of centrality (betweenness and closeness), the degree is not positively associated with the number of downloads. (v) The average closeness centrality of the contributors that participated in a project is positively correlated with the success of the project. These results suggest that there are positive spillovers of knowledge for projects occupying critical junctures in the information flow. When we define projects as connected if and only if they had at least two contributors in common, we again find that additional contributors are associated with an increase in output, and again find that this increase is much higher for projects with strong ties than other projects in the giant component.
    Keywords: open source, network, Microstructure of Collaboration
    JEL: L17
    Date: 2008–04
  4. By: Marc Blatter (Economics Department, University of Bern); Andras Niedermayer (Kellogg School of Management, CMS-EMS, Northwestern University)
    Abstract: We consider software developers who can either work on an open source project or on a closed source project. The former provides a publicly available signal about their talent, whereas the latter provides a signal only observed by their employer. We show that a talented employee may initially prefer a less paying job as an open source developer to commercial closed source projects, because a publicly available signal gives him a better bargaining position when renegotiating wages with his employer after the signal has been revealed. Also, we derive conditions under which two effects suggested by standard intuition are reversed: a “pooling equilibrium” (with both talented and untalented workers doing closed source) is less likely if differences in talent are large; a highly visible open source job leads to more effort in a career concerns setup. The former effect is because a higher productivity of talented workers raises not only the value but also the cost of signaling; the latter stems from more effort and the choice of a high visibility job being substitutes for the purpose of signaling. Results naturally apply to other industries with high and low visibility jobs, e.g. academic rather than commercial research, consulting rather than management.
    Keywords: Open source software, signaling
    JEL: C70 L86
    Date: 2008–09
  5. By: Matthew Littleton
    Abstract: Despite numerous international commitments to promote transfer of climate-change related technologies to developing countries, such transfers are not occurring at a sufficient rate to aid these nations in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. The impact of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on transfer of these technologies is discussed through a detailed examination of relevant TRIPS provisions. The paper also addresses options for improving technology transfer through exploitation of existing TRIPS flexibilities, modification of the Agreement, and other public and private legal and policy avenues.
    Keywords: TRIPS Agreement, climate-change-related technologies, and technology transfer
    JEL: O34
    Date: 2008–10
  6. By: Ruttan, Vernon W.
    Abstract: A number of very careful econometric studies have been interpreted as showing that publicly funded research and development conducted by private firms has had little discernable impact on firm level profits or productivity. In contrast historical studies have shown that military and defense-related research development and procurement conducted by private firms has been an important source of technology development across a broad spectrum of U.S. manufacturing industries. Careful narrative analysis represents a more effective way of capturing the complementarities between military and defense-related research, development, and procurement on commercial technology development than econometric analysis.
    Keywords: Political Economy, Productivity Analysis, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2008–02–23
  7. By: Huang, Can (UNU-MERIT, and Maastricht University); Notten, Ad (UNU-MERIT); Rasters, Nico (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper provides a comprehensive review of more than 120 social science studies in nanoscience and technology, all of which analyze publication and patent data. We conduct a comparative analysis of bibliometric search strategies that these studies use to harvest publication and patent data related to nanoscience and technology. We implement these strategies on 2006 publication data and find that Mogoutov and Kahane (2007), with their evolutionary lexical query search strategy, extract the highest number of records from the Web of Science. The strategies of Glanzel et al. (2003), Noyons et al. (2003), Porter et al. (2008) and Mogoutov and Kahane (2007) produce very similar ranking tables of the top ten nanotechnology subject areas and the top ten most prolific countries and institutions.
    Keywords: nanotechnology, research and development, productivity, publications, patents, bibliometric analysis, search strategy
    JEL: O14 O31
    Date: 2008
  8. By: Sterlacchini, Alessandro; Schettino, Francesco
    Abstract: This paper analyses the propensity to withdraw European patent applications within a regional sample of Italian applicants. The procedure for obtaining a granted patent from the EPO is composed of a series of sequential and selective steps imposing additional costs to the applicants. Accordingly, we argue that early withdrawals - i.e. those occurring before the proper examination process begins - should be treated separately from late withdrawals. Our findings show the probability of an early withdrawal is higher for applicants with lower resources and competencies and rises with the number of backward citations added by EPO examiners to the original application. Late withdrawals, instead, are negatively affected by one factor only: the size of patent family, which approximates the sunk costs born by applicants in order to extend the geographical scope of patent protection. Such a limited explanation suggests that the (unobserved) interventions of EPO examiners are likely to play a significant role in inducing late withdrawals.
    Keywords: Patent withdrawals; Applicants’ features; Patent quality; Patent examination.
    JEL: O34 O31
    Date: 2008–10–22
  9. By: Gautier Duflos (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENPC - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I - INRA - CNRS); Etienne Pfister (BETA-Règles - Université de Nancy II)
    Abstract: This article analyzes the individual determinants of acquisition activity and target choices in the pharmaceutical industry over the period 1978-2002. The "innovation gap" hypothesis states that acquiring firms lack promising drug compounds and acquire firms with more promising drug prospects. A duration model implemented over a panel of more than 400 firms relates the probabilities of being an purchaser or a target to financial, R&D ant patent data to investigate this explanation more deeply. Results show that purchasers are firms with a lower Tobin's Q and decreasing sales, which could indicate that acquisitions are used to compensate for low internal growth prospects. Firms with a higher proportion of radical patents in their portfolio, especially in pharmaceutical and biothechnological patent classes, face a higher probability of being targeted, indicating that acquiring firms are indeed searching for innovative competencies. However, acquiring firms also present a significant absorptive capacity : their R&D investment increases in the year preceding the operation and their patent stock is larger and more diversified than for non-acquiring firms. Finally, we observe that over the last ten years of the sample period, firms have paid a greater attention to the size of the target's portfolio.
    Keywords: M&A, pharmaceutical, innovations, patent citations.
    Date: 2008–09
  10. By: Henry Sauermann; Wesley M. Cohen
    Abstract: We examine the impact of individual-level motives upon innovative effort and performance in firms. Drawing from economics and social psychology, we develop a model of the impact of individuals' motives and incentives upon their innovative effort and performance. Using data on over 11,000 industrial scientists and engineers (SESTAT 2003), we find that individuals' motives have significant effects upon innovative effort and performance. These effects vary significantly, however, by the particular kind of motive (e.g., desire for intellectual challenge vs. pay). We also find that intrinsic and extrinsic motives affect innovative performance even when controlling for effort, suggesting that motives affect not only the level of individual effort, but also its quality. Overall, intrinsic motives, particularly the desire for intellectual challenge, appear to benefit innovation more than extrinsic motives such as pay.
    JEL: O3 O30 O31 O32
    Date: 2008–10
  11. By: Alston, Julian M.; Pardey, Philip G.
    Abstract: Replaced with revised version of paper 08/14/07.
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries,
    Date: 2008–02–26

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