Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich, Room 313
The aim of this study is to analyze the effect of a decision weakening patents in light of the arguments made by stakeholders during the policymaking process. We show that the common belief that weaker patents lead to fewer innovations is wrong, while accounting for the heterogeneous patent-related strategies. Using a unique dataset on the entire population of French firms over 1995-2010 matched with their patents, we propose a cleaner test compared to previous literature using a measure closer to the concept of patenting propensity and a novel empirical approach. The arguments made by the Supreme Court and Amici in court documents show that the policy objectives are partially attained. While large firms in complex products industries reduce preemptive patenting, other firms use patents less as an appropriation mechanisms. Nevertheless, innovative activities remain high overall, due to the availability of alternative appropriation mechanisms and the spillovers allowed by weaker patents.
Contact Person: Dr. Fabian Gaessler