nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2015‒09‒11
two papers chosen by
Giovanni Ramello
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”

  1. Plant Breeders’ Rights, Patents and Incentives to Innovate By Hervouet, Adrien; Langinier, Corinne
  2. Dense Enough To Be Brilliant: Patents, Urbanization, and Transportation in Nineteenth Century America By Elisabeth Ruth Perlman

  1. By: Hervouet, Adrien (Université de Nantes, Institut d’Économie et de Management); Langinier, Corinne (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Innovations on plant varieties can be protected by patents or Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBRs). Although these methods of protection have similarities, they also have major differences. With the PBR regime, farmers are allowed to save part of their harvest to replant during the next period (“farmers’ exemption”). To comply with international regulation, they must pay a tax to seed producers for the loss incurred due to this exemption. We analyze the impact of this exemption and its associated tax on seed prices and on the incentives to innovate in a monopoly setting. We find that with only a PBR regime, a relatively high tax level is necessary to eliminate self-production. If both patent and PBR regimes coexist, farmers might still self-produce if the seed innovation is protected with a PBR. Our findings suggest that the coexistence of the two regimes does not fully prevent self-production. Nevertheless, it boosts the research investment which is a non-monotonic function of the tax. The seed producer might over or under invest compared to what is socially optimal. Moreover, incentives to innovate are the strongest, either with a patent regime or with a PBR regime for which a high tax prevents seed saving. In terms of welfare, having both systems has ambiguous effects.
    Keywords: Intellectual Property Rights; Plant Breeders’ Rights; Seed Saving
    JEL: D23 K11 L12 Q12
    Date: 2015–08–01
  2. By: Elisabeth Ruth Perlman
    Abstract: This paper explores the geographical distribution of patenting in the nineteenth century United States, as it evolves in response to improvements in access to transportation. I revisit the Sokoloff (1988) hypothesis that increasing market access, caused by the spread of transportation infrastructure, led to an acceleration of innovation. I find that twenty years after the arrival of the railroad in a county, the number of patents per capita has doubled. Using cardinal detection lines from the most important ports in 1826 as an instrumental variable suggests that 30-70% of the increase in patenting between 1850 and 1860 was caused by the spread of the railroad in this period, and 15-30% of the increase between 1850 and 1870. These results are driven by the area of a county that is close enough make a round trip to transportation with in a day, and not by area further away. A 1% increase in the area of the county that is within 1.5 miles of some form of transport corresponds to a to a 1.5% increase in patenting. These results are robust to controls for urbanization. Much of the effect comes from patenting in counties that had not previously patented, suggesting that new access to existing markets spurs development and leads to integration into broader markets for innovation.
    Date: 2015–03

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