Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=560841
 
 

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Patent Length and the Timing of Innovative Activity


Joshua S. Gans


University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; NBER

Stephen P. King


Monash University - Department of Economics; Economic Regulation Authority of Western Australia (ERA); Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR)

July 2004

Melbourne Business School Working Paper No. 2004-19

Abstract:     
The standard result in patent policy, as demonstrated by Gilbert and Shapiro (1990), is that infinitely lived but very narrow patents are optimal as deadweight losses are minimized and spread through time, but inventors can still recover their R&D expenditures. By extending their innovative environment to include timing as an important choice, we demonstrate that a finitely lived, but broader, patent is socially desirable. This is because a patent breadth is a better instrument than length to encourage socially optimal timing. Thus, patents need not be infinitely long in order to encourage a greater number of inventions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

Keywords: Invention, patent length, patent breadth, timing, R&D expenditures

JEL Classification: L4, O34

working papers series





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Date posted: July 1, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Gans, Joshua S. and King, Stephen P., Patent Length and the Timing of Innovative Activity (July 2004). Melbourne Business School Working Paper No. 2004-19. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=560841 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.560841

Contact Information

Joshua S. Gans (Contact Author)
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )
Canada
HOME PAGE: http://www.joshuagans.com

NBER ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Stephen Peter King
Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )
Wellington Road
Victoria, 3145
Australia
Economic Regulation Authority of Western Australia (ERA) ( email )
197 St Georges Terrace
Perth, Western Australia 6000
Australia
Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR) ( email )
Level 7, UNSW CBD Campus
1 O'Connell Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Australia

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