150 Years of Patent Protection

57 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 1999

See all articles by Josh Lerner

Josh Lerner

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Harvard University - Private Capital Research Institute

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Date Written: August 1999

Abstract

This paper examines three sets of explanations for variations in the strength of patent protection across sixty countries and a 150-year period. Wealthier nations are more likely to have patent systems, to allow patentees a longer time to put their patents into practice, and to ratify treaties assuring equal treatment of other nations. But they are also likely to charge higher fees and limit patent protection in some important ways. Countries with democratic political institutions are consistently more likely to have patent protection and to grant longer awards. Finally, many of the differences in patent policy appear to be determined by historical factors. The origin of a country's commercial law appears particularly important in explaining the presence of restrictions on patentees' privileges and discriminatory provisions against foreign patentees.

JEL Classification: O34, K40

Suggested Citation

Lerner, Josh, 150 Years of Patent Protection (August 1999). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=179188 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.179188

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