Technology Protectionism and the Patent System: Strategic Technologies in China
69 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2016 Last revised: 25 Aug 2020
Date Written: September 1, 2020
Governments have strong incentives to allow their inventors to free ride on foreign technologies. They can achieve this result by discriminating against foreigners in the patent system by refusing to grant foreigners a patent for their inventions. International patent law treaties forbid this practice, which may lower the global innovation incentives and may hurt international trade. Using data on half a million inventions submitted to the Chinese patent office, we find robust evidence of anti-foreign bias in the issuance of patents in 'strategic' technology areas. Foreigners are about 50 percent more likely to be refused a strategic patent than locals.
Keywords: industrial policy; national treatment principle; patent; technology protectionism; TRIPS
JEL Classification: O34, K11, F52
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