The Patent Paradox Revisited: An Empirical Study of Patenting in the Us Semiconductor Industry, 1979-95.

Posted: 22 Dec 2000

See all articles by Bronwyn H. Hall

Bronwyn H. Hall

University of California at Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Rosemarie Ham Ziedonis

Boston University - Questrom School of Business

Abstract

We examine the patenting behavior of firms in an industry characterized by rapid technological change and cumulative innovation. Recent survey evidence suggests that semiconductor firms do not rely heavily on patents to appropriate returns to R&D. Yet the propensity of semiconductor firms to patent has risen dramatically since the mid-1980s. We explore this apparent paradox by conducting interviews with industry representatives and analyzing the patenting behavior of 95 US semiconductor firms during 1979-95. The results suggest that the 1980s strengthening of US patent rights spawned "patent portfolio races" among capital-intensive firms, but also facilitated entry by specialized design firms.

Keywords: Patents, IPR, semiconductor industry, cumulative R&D

JEL Classification: O34, O32, L63

Suggested Citation

Hall, Bronwyn H. and Ziedonis, Rosemarie Ham, The Patent Paradox Revisited: An Empirical Study of Patenting in the Us Semiconductor Industry, 1979-95.. RAND Journal of Economics. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=250470

Bronwyn H. Hall

University of California at Berkeley ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

HOME PAGE: http://emlab.berkeley.edu/users/bhhall/index.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Rosemarie Ham Ziedonis (Contact Author)

Boston University - Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States

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