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Patents and Cumulative Innovation: Causal Evidence from the Courts

Alberto Galasso and Mark Schankerman

No 20269, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Cumulative innovation is central to economic growth. Do patent rights facilitate or impede follow-on innovation? We study the causal effect of removing patent rights by court invalidation on subsequent research related to the focal patent, as measured by later citations. We exploit random allocation of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to control for endogeneity of patent invalidation. Patent invalidation leads to a 50 percent increase in citations to the focal patent, on average, but the impact is heterogeneous and depends on characteristics of the bargaining environment. Patent rights block downstream innovation in computers, electronics and medical instruments, but not in drugs, chemicals or mechanical technologies. Moreover, the effect is entirely driven by invalidation of patents owned by large patentees that triggers more follow-on innovation by small firms.

JEL-codes: O33 O34 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ind, nep-ino, nep-ipr, nep-pr~, nep-knm, nep-law, nep-sbm and nep-tid
Note: IO PR
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (47)

Published as Alberto Galasso & Mark Schankerman, 2015. "Patents and Cumulative Innovation: Causal Evidence from the Courts *," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol 130(1), pages 317-369.

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