An Empirical Look at Software Patents
James E. Bessen
Boston University - School of Law; Research on Innovation
Robert M. Hunt
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 157-189, Spring 2007
Software patents have grown rapidly in number and now comprise 15% of all patents. They are acquired primarily by large manufacturing firms in industries known for strategic patenting; only 5% belong to software publishers. The very large increase in software patent propensity over time is not adequately explained by changes in R&D investments, employment of computer programmers, or productivity growth. The residual increase in software patent propensity is consistent with a sizeable increase in the cost effectiveness of software patents during the 1990s, perhaps arising from changes in the application of patent law to computer software.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 18, 2007
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