In this paper, we offer a novel explanation to the surge in patenting observed during the last few years. When PTOs (Patent and Trademark Offices) award bad patents, not only do “false innovators” have the incentive to file applications but also, and more interestingly, “true innovators” are forced to patent more intensively in an attempt to signal their type. However, if they are liquidity constrained, true innovators may fail to separate and this fact reduces the incentives to exert effort in R&D. In addition, drawing on the signaling role of patents highlighted by the model, we investigate some of the proposals that have been put forward in order to mitigate the bad patent problem. We provide an intuitive condition under which a tightening of the patentability standards (“raising the bar”) reduces the distortions caused by bad patents. Moreover, we show that introducing a two-tiered patent system is unlikely to improve market outcomes.

How many patents does it take to signal innovation quality?

Comino, Stefano;Graziano, Clara
2015

Abstract

In this paper, we offer a novel explanation to the surge in patenting observed during the last few years. When PTOs (Patent and Trademark Offices) award bad patents, not only do “false innovators” have the incentive to file applications but also, and more interestingly, “true innovators” are forced to patent more intensively in an attempt to signal their type. However, if they are liquidity constrained, true innovators may fail to separate and this fact reduces the incentives to exert effort in R&D. In addition, drawing on the signaling role of patents highlighted by the model, we investigate some of the proposals that have been put forward in order to mitigate the bad patent problem. We provide an intuitive condition under which a tightening of the patentability standards (“raising the bar”) reduces the distortions caused by bad patents. Moreover, we show that introducing a two-tiered patent system is unlikely to improve market outcomes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1068973
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