Patent Reform: Aligning Reward and Contribution

48 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2007 Last revised: 29 Oct 2014

See all articles by Carl Shapiro

Carl Shapiro

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

Economists and policy makers have long recognized that innovators must be able to appropriate a reasonable portion of the social benefits of their innovations if innovation is to be suitably rewarded and encouraged. However, this paper identifies a number of specific fact patterns under which the current U.S. patent system allows patent holders to capture private rewards that exceed their social contributions. Such excessive patentee rewards are socially costly, since they raise the deadweight loss associated with the patent system and discourage innovation by others. Economic efficiency is promoted if rewards to patent holders are aligned with and do not exceed their social contributions. This paper analyzes two major reforms to the patent system designed to spur innovation by better aligning the rewards and contributions of patent holders: establishing an independent invention defense in patent infringement cases, and strengthening the procedures by which patents are re-examined after they are issued. Three additional reforms relating to patent litigation are also studied: limiting the use of injunctions, clarifying the way in which "reasonable royalties" are calculated, and narrowing the definition of "willful infringement."

Suggested Citation

Shapiro, Carl, Patent Reform: Aligning Reward and Contribution (May 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13141. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=989952

Carl Shapiro (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-5905 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu

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