nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2023‒07‒24
four papers chosen by
Giovanni Ramello
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”

  1. Better than a compromise, a third way: Using patent pooling to accelerate access to vaccines and treatments against Covid-19 By Billette de Villemeur, Etienne; Dequiedt, Vianney; Versaevel, Bruno
  2. Optimal Patent Policy and Wealth Inequality in a Schumpeterian Economy By Chu, Angus; Liao, Chih-Hsing
  3. Global Agri-food Value Chains and Intellectual Property Rights in International Trade By Oh, Saera; Lim, Sunghun; Awokuse, Titus O.
  4. The Illusive Slump of Disruptive Patents By Macher, Jeffrey; Rutzer, Christian; Weder, Rolf

  1. By: Billette de Villemeur, Etienne; Dequiedt, Vianney; Versaevel, Bruno
    Abstract: In the debate on intellectual property rights induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, vaccines and treatments are typically referred to as simple products whose manufacturing specifications need only to be shared in order to increase production capacity and accelerate access to all, more specifically to low-income populations in the developing world. We contribute to this debate by taking into account the fact that the manufacture of innovative vaccines and treatments can involve multiple technologies whose patents are held by several entities. We propose an economic approach that it is more balanced than the polar options – on which the debate has focused – of either maintaining or suspending patents, without being reduced to a simple compromise between these two extremes. This “third way” is grounded in a model for the characterization of the performance of a patent pool mechanism, whose objective is to maximize access to medicinal products by licensing multiple technologies as a bundle to downstream manufacturers. The outcomes of the nonprofit patent pool are compared with those of two benchmark scenarios where either patent holders license their technologies separately, or where a profit-maximizing patent pool is involved. The analysis highlights the positive role that a non-profit organization such as the Medicines Patent Pool can play in the global governance of responses to the pandemic.
    Keywords: access; pricing; vaccines; treatments; developing countries
    JEL: L24 L31 O24
    Date: 2021–12
  2. By: Chu, Angus; Liao, Chih-Hsing
    Abstract: Does wealth inequality affect optimal patent policy? This study develops a Schumpeterian growth model with heterogeneous households to explore this question. The model features a general innovation specification that captures two common specifications as special cases: (a) the knowledge-driven specification that uses R&D labor, and (b) the lab-equipment specification that uses final output for R&D. Under the knowledge-driven specification, all households prefer the same level of patent protection. However, under the lab-equipment specification, wealthier households prefer stronger patent protection, and higher wealth inequality reduces the optimal level of patent protection and economic growth. Under the general innovation specification, strengthening patent protection has an inverted-U effect on innovation, in contrast to the positive effect under the two special cases. Furthermore, wealthier households continue to prefer stronger patent protection, and wealth inequality also reduces optimal patent protection. Therefore, all households preferring the same level of patent protection under the knowledge-driven specification is due to a knife-edge parameter condition. Calibrating the model to US data, we find that eliminating wealth inequality raises the optimal level of patent protection and economic growth.
    Keywords: patent policy; innovation; wealth inequality; economic growth
    JEL: O3 O4
    Date: 2023–06
  3. By: Oh, Saera; Lim, Sunghun; Awokuse, Titus O.
    Keywords: International Relations/Trade, International Development, Agricultural and Food Policy
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Macher, Jeffrey (University of Basel); Rutzer, Christian (University of Basel); Weder, Rolf (University of Basel)
    Abstract: Despite tremendous growth in the volume of new scientific and technological knowledge, the popular press has recently raised concerns that disruptive innovative activity is slowing. These dire prognoses were mainly driven by Park et al. (2023), a Nature publication that uses decades of data and millions of observations coupled with a novel quantitative metric (the CD index) that characterizes innovation in science and technology as either consolidating or disruptive. We challenge the Park et al. (2023) methodology and findings, principally around concerns of truncation bias and exclusion bias. We show that 88 percent of the decrease in disruptive patents over 1980-2010 reported by the authors can be explained by their truncation of all backward citations before 1976. We also show that this truncation bias varies by technology class. We update the analysis to 2016 and account for a change in U.S. patent law that allows for citations to patent applications in addition to patent grants, which is ignored by the authors in their analysis. We show that the number of highly disruptive patents has increased since 1980---particularly in IT technologies. Our results suggest caution in using the Park et al. (2023) methodology as a basis for research and decision making in public policy, industry restructuring or firm reorganization aimed at altering the current innovation landscape.
    Keywords: Disruptive Innovation, Truncation Bias, Exclusion Bias, U.S. Patent Law Change
    JEL: O30 O32 O33
    Date: 2023–06–19

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