nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2020‒09‒07
four papers chosen by
Giovanni Ramello
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”

  1. Latent Estimation of Piracy Quality and its Effect on Revenues and Distribution: The Case of Motion Pictures By Anthony Koschmann; Yi Qian
  2. Technology protectionism and the patent system: Evidence from China By Gaétan de Rassenfosse; Emilio Raiteri
  3. The Problem of Earlier Rights: Evidence from the European Trademark System By Georg von Graevenitz; Stuart J.H. Graham; Amanda Myers
  4. Patterns of Innovation during the Industrial Revolution: a Reappraisal using a Composite Indicator of Patent Quality By Alessandro Nuvolari; Valentina Tartari; Matteo Tranchero

  1. By: Anthony Koschmann; Yi Qian
    Abstract: Conventional wisdom holds that illegal copies cannibalize legitimate sales, even though previous research has found mixed effects, with illegal copies acting as both a substitute and complement. Yet, a relatively unexamined aspect to date is the quality of illegal copies. Building on product uncertainty and production quality, we propose that higher quality copies can benefit sales when product uncertainty is high, such as during the launch period. Using motion picture and online piracy data, we estimate piracy quality using a latent item response theory (IRT) model based on keyword signals in the copies. An interdependent system jointly estimates movie screens, revenues, downloads, and available illegal copies with piracy quality in both the launch and post-launch periods. We find that at launch, when rather little is known about the movie, higher quality illegal copies demonstrate a positive effect on revenues (sampling). In the post-launch period, however, higher quality illegal copies exhibit a negative effect on revenues (substitution). The findings suggest producers can alleviate product uncertainty through higher quality samples at product launch while diluting piracy quality post-launch.
    JEL: K42 M21 M31 O3
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Gaétan de Rassenfosse (Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne); Emilio Raiteri (Eindhoven University of Technology)
    Abstract: Governments have strong incentives to allow their inventors to free ride on foreign technologies. They can achieve this result by discriminating against foreigners in the patent system--by refusing to grant foreigners a patent for their inventions. International patent law treaties forbid this practice, which may lower the global innovation incentives and may hurt international trade. Using data on half a million inventions submitted to the Chinese patent office, we find robust evidence of anti-foreign bias in the issuance of patents in 'strategic' technology areas. Foreigners are about 50 percent more likely to be refused a strategic patent than locals.
    Keywords: industrial policy, national treatment principle, patent, technology protectionism, TRIPS
    JEL: O34 K11 F52
    Date: 2020–09
  3. By: Georg von Graevenitz (Queen Mary University, CCP and CREATe); Stuart J.H. Graham (Georgia Institute of Technology); Amanda Myers (United States Patent and Trademark Office)
    Abstract: Laws protecting intellectual property rights balance interests of earlier and later rights holders. The tradeoffs are well established for patents. We argue that similar considerations apply to trademarks. Jurisdictions differ in how strongly they protect earlier rights, with EU trademark law protecting the registered use of an earlier right for much longer than US trademark law. Laws in both jurisdictions seek to eventually align registered use of earlier rights with their actual use, creating space on the trademark register for later rights. Data from a recent reform of trademark fees reveal that registered and actual use of EU marks frequently fail to align as intended. We analyse trademark opposition cases at EUIPO to test whether this creates costs for owners of later rights. We find that a subset of firms relies on the protection afforded to earlier rights to permanently expand the breadth of their marks beyond actual use, limiting access to trademarks for later applicants. We discuss policy implications.
    Keywords: Trademark, Clutter, Opposition, Non-use, Barriers to entry.
    Date: 2020–03–11
  4. By: Alessandro Nuvolari; Valentina Tartari; Matteo Tranchero
    Abstract: The distinction between macro- and microinventions is at the core of recent debates on the Industrial Revolution. Yet, the empirical testing of this notion has remained elusive. We address this issue by introducing a new quality indicator for all patents granted in England in the period 1700-1850. Our findings indicate that macroinventions did not exhibit any specific time-clustering, while microinventions were correlated with the economic cycle. In addition, we also find that macroinventions were characterized by a labor-saving bias and were mostly introduced by professional engineers. These results suggest that Allen's and Mokyr's views of macroinventions, rather than conflicting, should be regarded as complementary.
    Keywords: Industrial Revolution; Patents; Macroinventions; Microinventions
    Date: 2020–09–05

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