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

37 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2005 Last revised: 30 Oct 2014

See all articles by Feng Zhu

Feng Zhu

Harvard University - Harvard Business School

Josh Lerner

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2005

Abstract

Economists have debated the extent to which strengthening patent protection spurs or detracts from technological innovation. In this paper, we examine the reduction of software copyright protection in the Lotus v. Borland decision. If patent and copyright protections are substitutes, then weakening of one form of protection should be associated with an increasing 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 harmful effects: in fact, the increased reliance on patents is correlated with some positive outcomes for firms.

Suggested Citation

Zhu, Feng and Lerner, Josh, What is the Impact of Software Patent Shifts?: Evidence from Lotus V. Borland (March 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11168, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=679327

Feng Zhu

Harvard University - Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 431
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HOME PAGE: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=14938

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)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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