50 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 2015
We investigate whether patents on human genes have affected follow-on scientific research and product development. Using administrative data on successful and unsuccessful patent applications submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office, we link the exact gene sequences claimed in each application with data measuring follow-on scientific research and commercial investments. Using this data, we document novel evidence of selection into patenting: patented genes appear more valuable — prior to being patented — than non-patented genes. This evidence of selection motivates two quasi-experimental approaches, both of which suggest that on average gene patents have had no effect on follow-on innovation.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Sampat, Bhaven N. and Williams, Heidi L., How Do Patents Affect Follow-On Innovation? Evidence from the Human Genome (October 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21666. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2679705