On limiting or encouraging rivalry in technical progress: The effect of patent scope decisions
ABSTRACT This essay is on the effects of the scope of a patent - e.g., how broad its allowed claims - on subsequent inventing in a field. It is argued that this depends on the topography of technical advance in a field, in particular on how inventions are linked to each other and in the extent to which rapid technical advance requires a diversity of actors and minds, as contrasted with being facilitated by express coordination of inventive activity. Technical advance is examined in several different fields, with a focus on how patents influenced the pace and quality of development. The authors conclude that allowing and enforcing broad patent claims tends to hinder technical progress.
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ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on the concept of patent scope, and contributes to existing research in three ways. First, it offers a re-examination of the construct and identifies two dimensions of patent scope, (1) the number of variations of the core inventive idea identified in the patent, reflected in the number of claims in the patent (e.g. Merges and Nelson, 1994); and (2) the positioning of those variations in the inventive space, which is reflected in the number of technological classes in which patent examiners classify those claims. Second, it investigates the implications of patent scope for the firm's subsequent inventive performance, and finds that, when the scope of a patents spans across a higher number of technological classes, the extent to which the inventing firm itself succeeds in building on the knowledge underlying its own patent is lower. Third, it investigates the antecedents of scope, and suggests that prior investment in scientific knowledge and in related inventive experience are two factors that affect the scope of the patents that firms develop. The theoretical predictions elaborated in this paper are supported by an empirical examination of a longitudinal sample of firms in the photonics industry.Research Policy 01/2014; 44(2). DOI:10.1016/j.respol.2014.09.005
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ABSTRACT: This chapter aims to increase our understanding of the relationships between firm strategies, the design of institutional contexts on behalf of public agents, and the stimulation of diffused entrepreneurship within the economic system. In particular, it analyzes the way in which firm patent portfolio management strategies may systematically hinder the emergence of entrepreneurial endeavors within the economic system and, on this basis, critically discusses how the acknowledgement of these interactions should influence the design of public policies at the economic system level. We argue that in economic contexts where intellectual property rights (IPR) are influential, large firms may intentionally develop and strategically manage wide portfolios of patents in order to purposely pre-empt the rise of direct competition and thwart the efforts of new potential entrepreneurs, rather than merely to protect the fruits of their R&D. This strategy leads to patent proliferation, eventually hindering the emergence of nascent entrepreneurship, thereby preventing the creation of new value in the system. The pre-emptive strategy described may be observed in a variety of contexts in which global firms (such as IBM, Microsoft and other firms in the biotech, nanotech and pharmaceutical industries) tend to aggressively invest in building and protecting wide ranged and overarching patent portfolios directed primarily toward preventing potential competition.12/2008: pages 35-57;
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ABSTRACT: This paper proposes a unified conceptual framework to analyze the multiple role and consequences of patents in the case of biotechnology research tools. We argue that the knowledge/information and independent/complementary nature of research tools define heterogeneous frameworks in which the patent system plays different roles. In particular, using the analogy with the free-libre open source movement in software, we show that patents can promote open innovation by ensuring the freedom of some pieces of knowledge. A strong conclusion of the paper is therefore that, against common belief, an adequate use of the patent system may contribute to preserving freedom of access to upstream research tools within a framework that we call free-libre biotechnology.Research Policy 12/2008; 37(10):1909-1921. DOI:10.1016/j.respol.2008.07.012