nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2009‒05‒16
nine papers chosen by
Roland Kirstein
Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

  1. Intellectual property in a knowledge-based economy : Patents to include vs. patents to exclude. By Patrick Cohendet; Matthieu Farcot; Julien Pénin
  2. Market Structure and Property Rights in Open Source By Michele Boldrin; David K Levine
  3. Impact of Foreign Intellectual Property Rights Protection on U.S. Exports and FDI By Gu, Weishi
  4. Competition, innovation and intellectual property rights in software markets By Michiel Bijlsma; Paul de Bijl; Viktoria Kocsis
  5. Multinational Technology Diffusion in Agriculture By King, John L.
  6. Why weak patents? Rational ignorance or pro-"customer" Tilt? By Lei, Zhen; Wright, Brian D.
  7. Half a Century of Public Software Institutions: Open Source as a Solution to Hold-Up Problem By Michael Schwarz; Yuri Takhteyev
  8. In search of excellence - Innovation contests to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Portugal By Adão Carvalho
  9. Managerial incentive and the firms' propensity to invest in product and process innovation By R. Cellini; L. Lambertini; A. Sterlacchini

  1. By: Patrick Cohendet; Matthieu Farcot; Julien Pénin
    Abstract: The traditional perception of patents puts the emphasis on their importance to exclude imitators and to restore incentives to invent. This view is far too restrictive and at variance with many empirical and theoretical works. We show that these contradictions can be overcome by shifting from a traditional economic framework to a knowledge-based one. Such a move allows a renewed economic perception of patents, making them into essential instruments which serve not only to exclude potential infringers but also to “include” all the different stakeholders in the innovation process. Within this new approach the main role of the patent system is therefore to ensure the coordination among heterogeneous actors and to structure innovation activities. We illustrate our view by presenting the four polar cases of pharmaceuticals, electronics, software and biotechnologies.
    Keywords: Intellectual property rights, incentives, coordination, R&D collaboration, collective invention.
    JEL: L00
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Michele Boldrin; David K Levine
    Date: 2009–05–06
  3. By: Gu, Weishi
    Abstract: This version of the paper is subject to changes.
    Keywords: export, FDI, technology transfer, intellectual property rights, GMM, International Development, International Relations/Trade, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, C33, F21, F23, F14, O34, K33,
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Michiel Bijlsma; Paul de Bijl; Viktoria Kocsis
    Abstract: This study analyzes under which circumstances it may be desirable for the government to stimulate open source software as a response to market failures in software markets. To consider whether policy intervention can increase dynamic efficiency, we discuss the differences between proprietary software and open source software with respect to the incentives to innovate and market failures that may occur. The document proposes guidelines to determine which types of policy intervention may be suitable. Our most important finding is that directly stimulating open source software, e.g. by acting as a lead customer, can improve dynamic efficiency if (i) there is a serious customer lock-in problem, while (ii) to develop the software, there is no need to purchase specific, complementary inputs at a substantial cost, and (iii) follow-on innovations are socially valuable but there are impediments to contractual agreements between developers that aim at realizing such innovations.
    Keywords: Software markets; Intellectual property rights; Open source software; Public policy
    JEL: L17 L52 L86 O34
    Date: 2009–03
  5. By: King, John L.
    Abstract: This paper presents data on international technology diffusion of agricultural biotechnology. Patent family data, which identify related intellectual property in different countries with the same owner, represents technology flows between countries. Technology flows occur mostly between developed countries, and are similar for different types of entities (private, non-profit and university, government) that seek patent protection abroad. Technology diffusion through patent families is a significant predictor of international trade flows, which is consistent with several different models of trade.
    Keywords: Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2009
  6. By: Lei, Zhen; Wright, Brian D.
    Abstract: The issuance of weak patents is widely viewed as a fundamental problem in the current US patent system. Reasons that have been offered for the granting of weak patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) include examinersâ ârational ignoranceâ of the patentability of applications and pro-âcustomerâ rules and institutions that create incentives for examiners to grant patents of dubious validity to their âcustomersâ- applicants. In this paper, we study whether US examinersâ behavior in prior art search betrays their assessment of applicationsâ patentability. For a sample of US patents for which applications were also filed at the European Patent Office (EPO), we construct a measure of the fraction of prior art that is missed by US examiners. We find that this measure significantly explains the probability of receiving a patent at the EPO. The results are robust to different empirical specifications. US examinersâ prior art searches indicate that they are, on average, not ârationally ignorantâ. On the contrary, they identify and dedicate more search effort to those applications that seem more problematic, because they bear the burden of proof of non-patentability. Our study offers empirical evidence that a systematic problem of weak patents likely exists, and suggests that the problem may be more strongly attributable to the pro-applicant rules and policies than to examinersâ ignorance. The current prevalence of weak patents does not appear to be caused at the margin by lack of resources at the USPTO.
    Keywords: Weak patents, Rational ignorance, cited prior art, missed prior art, Industrial Organization, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Michael Schwarz; Yuri Takhteyev
    Abstract: We argue that the intrinsic inefficiency of proprietary software has historically created a space for alternative institutions that provide software as a public good. We discuss several sources of such inefficiency, focusing on one that has not been described in the literature: the underinvestment due to fear of holdup. An inefficient holdup occurs when a user of software must make complementary investments, when the return on such investments depends on future cooperation of the software vendor, and when contracting about a future relationship with the software vendor is not feasible. We also consider how the nature of the production function of software makes software cheaper to develop when the code is open to the end users. Our framework explains why open source dominates certain sectors of the software industry (e.g., the top ten programming languages all have an open source implementation), while being almost none existent in some other sectors (none of the top ten computer games are open source). We then use our discussion of efficiency to examine the history of institutions for provision of public software from the early collaborative projects of the 1950s to the modern "open source" software institutions. We look at how such institutions have created a sustainable coalition for provision of software as a public good by organizing diverse individual incentives, both altruistic and profit-seeking, providing open source products of tremendous commercial importance, which have come to dominate certain segments of the software industry.
    JEL: D45 D62 D64 H4 H44 L17 L3 N8 O3 O31 O43
    Date: 2009–05
  8. By: Adão Carvalho (Universidade de Evora, Departamento de Economia, CEFAGE-UE)
    Abstract: Numerous initiatives of different nature have taken place in Portugal over the recent years aiming at raising consciousness of the importance and advantages of innovation and entrepreneurship, persuading businesspeople to place innovation as strategic intent and encouraging would-be entrepreneurs to come forward with novel businesses ideas. Innovation contests are but one of such initiatives. From sporadic events before 2000, the phenomenon gained unprecedented dimension and growing sophistication at several levels, including the number of innovation contests launched annually, number and kind of organizations involved, volume and kind of prizes and support in business plan construction. Today, this is a popular means that a range of different organizations use to uncovering novel business ideas and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. Based on a large data base purposefully built for this research by the author, this paper aims to describe the phenomenon of innovation contests in Portugal and characterize its evolution over the period 2000-2008. Findings show a general use of contests as instruments to promote and prize innovation across a range of target audiences going from high school students to established businesses; an increasing trend in the number of innovation contests launched annually in Portugal; high rates of rotation of the innovation contests launched annually over the period under analysis; a growing diversification in the type of promoters which is particularly clear from 2004 onwards; and that private firms, higher education institutions and business associations appear to be gaining a prominent role as promoters of innovation contests.
    Keywords: Innovation contest, innovation, entrepreneurship, Portugal.
    JEL: O31 L26
    Date: 2009
  9. By: R. Cellini; L. Lambertini; A. Sterlacchini
    Date: 2009–02

This nep-ipr issue is ©2009 by Roland Kirstein. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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