Patent Expertise and the Regress of Useful Arts
Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Vol. 33, pp. 239-277, 2009
39 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2010
Date Written: January 28, 2010
Employing a multi-user interactive simulation of patent and non-patent (commons and open source) systems (the "Patent Game"), this study compares empirical data on rates of innovation, productivity, and social utility generated by groups of expert users deliberately selected to possess formal expertise in patent law and open innovation. The results show no statistically significant difference (at a p-level of 5%) in rates of innovation among a pure patent system, a patent/open source system, and a commons system. By contrast, the results do show statistically significant differences in rates of productivity and social utility among all three systems, with both productivity and social utility lowest in a pure patent system, higher in a patent/open source system, and highest in a pure commons system. These results are inconsistent with the orthodox assumption that patent systems generate more “Progress of...useful Arts” than do more open models of innovation, such as patent/open source or pure commons systems, but are consistent with some of the predictions and observations from the field of use and open innovation.
Keywords: Patent, innovation, open innovation, commons, open source, patent law, game, simulation, patent system, innovation, productivity, social utility, expertise, user innovation
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K11, K12, K19, K20, K21, K22, K23, K29, K30, K39, K40, K41, K42, K49
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