Working Paper BETA #2024-20

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Title : Strategies of search and patenting under different IPR regimes

Author(s) : Robin Cowan, Nicolas Jonard, Ruth Samson

Abstract : Many scholars observed changes in the intellectual property rights systems in the 1980s and 1990s throughout the world. Patent systems in particular seemed to be expanding their scope, and the legal system seemed to be changing its attitudes towards intellectual property rights. At the same time, and probably in response, firms started to change their patenting behaviour — treating patents as tools of competition and bargaining rather than as a means to protect the fruits of intellectual labour. In this paper we present a simulation model that can be used to discuss that shift. Firms search for new technologies and patent what they find. But different firms have different strategies: one is to protect an invention; a second is to protect a technology space; the third is to attack others’ technology spaces. In the literature the latter two have been described as different types of blocking. We examine different IPR regimes, characterized by who is able to infringe whose patent rights. This is an extreme case of who is able to extract rents from a given configuration of patent rights.

Key-words : Innovation, Patents, Knowledge network, Blocking strategies

JEL Classification : O31; O34; C6; L5.