Trolls and Other Patent Inventions: Economic History and the Patent Controversy in the Twenty-First Century

HOOVER IP² Working Paper Series No. 13001

43 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2013 Last revised: 6 Sep 2014

See all articles by B. Zorina Khan

B. Zorina Khan

Bowdoin College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 24, 2013

Abstract

The most significant changes to the patent and innovation system in the past two centuries have been, or are in the process of being, implemented in the United States today. Critics of patent grants and intellectual property institutions propose alternatives such as unprecedented constraints on the rights of patent owners, and many advocate the award of technological prizes as superior alternatives. Such proposals are motivated by claims that the patent system is in crisis, with new developments that require departures from traditional approaches to property rights and technology policy. The historical record sheds light on the nature and validity of these controversies. In particular, data on patents granted, litigation rates over the past two centuries, and the role of non-practicing entities, indicate that these features of the current market in intellectual property are hardly anomalous. Indeed, they have been inherently associated with disruptive technologies that transformed the United States into the world leader in industrial and economic growth. By contrast, extensive empirical analyses of prize systems in Europe and the United States explain why early enthusiasm about such administered nonmarket-oriented awards had waned by the end of the nineteenth century.

Keywords: patent system; non-practicing entities; trolls; patent litigation; technological prizes; innovations

Suggested Citation

Khan, B. Zorina, Trolls and Other Patent Inventions: Economic History and the Patent Controversy in the Twenty-First Century (October 24, 2013). HOOVER IP² Working Paper Series No. 13001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2344853 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2344853

B. Zorina Khan (Contact Author)

Bowdoin College - Department of Economics ( email )

Brunswick, ME 04011
United States
207-725-3000 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
255
rank
114,534
Abstract Views
1,116
PlumX Metrics