Novelty and Disclosure in Patent Law
Suzanne Scotchmer and
RAND Journal of Economics, 1990, vol. 21, issue 1, 131-146
The stringency of the novelty requirement in patent law affects the pace of innovation because it affects the amount of technical information that is disclosed among firms. It also affects ex ante profitability of research. We compare weak and strong novelty requirements from the standpoint of social efficiency. We ask how our answer depends on the rule that determines which firm gets a patent when two firms have patents pending on the same technology. The possible rules are "first-to-invent," which applies in the U.S., and "first-to-file," which applies everywhere else.
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