nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2017‒10‒22
three papers chosen by
Giovanni Ramello
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”

  1. The Diffusion of New Institutions: Evidence from Renaissance Venice's Patent System By Stefano Comino; Alberto Galasso; Clara Graziano
  2. Patent Examiner Specialization By Cesare Righi; Timothy Simcoe
  3. Understanding and tackling unethical consumption: The case of counterfeit consumption By Jingshi Liu; Amy N. Dalton; Jiewen Hong

  1. By: Stefano Comino; Alberto Galasso; Clara Graziano
    Abstract: What factors affect the diffusion of new economic institutions? This paper examines this question exploiting the introduction of the first regularized patent system which appeared in the Venetian Republic in 1474. We begin by developing a model which links patenting activity of craft guilds with provisions in their statutes. The model predicts that guild statutes that are more effective at preventing outsider’s entry and at mitigating price competition lead to less patenting. We test this prediction on a new dataset which combines detailed information on craft guilds and patents in the Venetian Republic during the Renaissance. We find a negative association between patenting activity and guild statutory norms which strongly restrict entry and price competition. We show that guilds which originated from medieval religious confraternities were more likely to regulate entry and competition, and that the effect on patenting is robust to instrumenting guild statutes with their quasi-exogenous religious origin. We also find that patenting was more widespread among guilds geographically distant from Venice, and among guilds in cities with lower political connection which we measure exploiting a new database on noble families and their marriages with members of the great council. Our analysis suggests that local economic and political conditions may have a substantial impact on the diffusion of new economic institutions.
    Keywords: patents, competition, guilds, institutions
    JEL: O33 O34 K23
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Cesare Righi; Timothy Simcoe
    Abstract: We study the matching of patent applications to examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Using test statistics originally developed to identify industry agglomeration, we find strong evidence that examiners specialize in particular technologies, even within relatively homogeneous art units. Examiner specialization is more pronounced in the biotechnology and chemistry fields, and less in computers and software. Evidence of specialization becomes weaker, but does not completely disappear, if we condition on technology sub-classes. There is no evidence that certain examiners specialize in applications that have greater importance or broader claims. More specialized examiners have a lower grant rate and produce a larger narrowing of claim-scope during the examination process. We discuss implications for instrumental variables based on examiner characteristics.
    JEL: H83 K11 L98 O3 O34
    Date: 2017–10
  3. By: Jingshi Liu (Department of Marketing, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); Amy N. Dalton (Department of Marketing, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); Jiewen Hong (Department of Marketing, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: This research examines how consumers feel when they use counterfeits, and how these feelings affect purchase intentions toward counterfeits and genuine brands. We find that counterfeit users experience mixed emotions, stemming from concerns about the signals the counterfeit might send to others. Accordingly, mixed emotions are stronger in public versus private settings, and among consumers chronically concerned about social signaling (i.e., consumers high in social-adjustive motives). Because mixed emotions can be unpleasant, counterfeit users subsequently gravitate away from counterfeits and toward genuine brands (which communicate largely positive social signals and thus elicit no mixed emotions). In this manner, counterfeit consumption may drive demand for genuine brands. A final experiment tests implications for reducing counterfeit consumption. As predicted, consumers exposed to anti-counterfeiting advertisements designed to elicit mixed emotions are willing to pay a higher price premium for genuine over counterfeit products. Collectively, these findings identify the emotional consequences of counterfeit consumption and highlight that an effective way to understand and reduce counterfeit consumption is to focus on the social context in which many counterfeits are used.
    Date: 2017–08

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