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What is the Impact of Software Patent Shifts?: Evidence from Lotus V. Borland

36 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2004 Last revised: 13 Jan 2015

Josh Lerner

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Feng Zhu

Harvard University - Harvard Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 1, 2005

Abstract

Economists have debated the extent to which strengthening patent protection spurs or detracts from technological innovation. This paper examines the reduction of software copyright protection in the Lotus v. Borland decision. If patent and copyright protections are substitutes, weakening of one form should be associated with an increased reliance on the other. We find that the firms affected by the diminution of copyright protection disproportionately accelerated their patenting in subsequent years. But little evidence can be found for any harmful effects: in fact, the increased reliance on patents is correlated with growth in measures such as sales and R&D expenditures.

Suggested Citation

Lerner, Josh and Zhu, Feng, What is the Impact of Software Patent Shifts?: Evidence from Lotus V. Borland (October 1, 2005). Harvard NOM Working Paper No. 05-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=596144 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.596144

Josh Lerner (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6065 (Phone)
617-496-7357 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/jlerner/

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Feng Zhu

Harvard University - Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 431
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=14938

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