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Effects of early patent publication on knowledge dissemination: Evidence from U.S. patent law reform

Yoshimi Okada and Sadao Nagaoka

Information Economics and Policy, 2020, vol. 51, issue C

Abstract: In order to assess effects of early publication of patent applications on the dissemination of the disclosed technological knowledge, this study examines the impacts of the 18-month pre-grant publication system introduced in the United States in 2000. It focuses on the variations of the applicant non-self-citations driven by the actual policy reform, unlike prior studies, after demonstrating that including examiner citations causes a systematic bias toward early knowledge flows to subsequent inventors. It finds that the citation probability rose significantly in early stage following the early publication, which shows that the reform accelerated knowledge diffusion significantly. Furthermore, the effect was stronger in the fields with longer publication lag before the reform (strongest in Computers & Communications, followed by in Drugs and Medicals). The reform looks to have helped inventors to recognize potential duplication and follow-on invention opportunities earlier. In addition, the publications of eventually abandoned patent applications, which had not been published before the reform, are found to have become significant new knowledge sources.

Keywords: Disclosure; Knowledge flow; Patent; Pre-grant publication; Applicant citation; Examiner citation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D83 L15 O31 O33 O34 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2020.100852

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