Complex Economics and Patent Remedies
John M. Golden
The University of Texas at Austin - School of Law
May 1, 2011
IP Theory, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 50-55, 2011
U of Texas Law, Law and Econ Research Paper No. 210
Robert Merges and Richard Nelson’s 1990 article On the Complex Economics of Patent Scope focuses attention on patent rights’ capacity to slow innovative progress by “taxing” or otherwise impeding the activities of follow-on innovators. They argue that such dynamic “drag” from patent rights can be especially problematic with respect to “cumulative technologies,” which might be crudely described as technologies in which significant advances tend to involve a multiplicity of substantially novel features. Broad patent scope can decelerate the development of such a technology by “reducing competition in the market for improvements to the patented technology.” The result can be a relatively “sluggish” rate of further technological advance. This short essay considers what Merges and Nelson's article about patent scope suggests in relation to modern debates over patent remedies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 7
Keywords: complex economicsAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 15, 2011 ; Last revised: June 22, 2011
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