NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by John P. Walsh

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Working Papers

June 2014The Acquisition and Commercialization of Invention in American Manufacturing: Incidence and Impact
with Ashish Arora, Wesley M. Cohen: w20264
Recent accounts suggest the development and commercialization of invention has become more “open.” Greater division of labor between inventors and innovators can enhance social welfare through gains from trade and greater economies of specialization. Moreover, this extensive reliance upon outside sources for invention also suggests that understanding the factors that condition the extramural supply of inventions to innovators is crucial to understanding the determinants of the rate and direction of innovative activity. This paper reports on a recent survey of over 6000 American manufacturing and service sector firms on the extent to which innovators rely upon external sources of invention. Our results indicate that, between 2007 and 2009, 18% of manufacturing firms had innovated – meaning...
February 2000Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)
with Wesley M. Cohen, Richard R. Nelson: w7552
Based on a survey questionnaire administered to 1478 R&D labs in the U.S. manufacturing sector in 1994, we find that firms typically protect the profits due to invention with a range of mechanisms, including patents, secrecy, lead time advantages and the use of complementary marketing and manufacturing capabilities. Of these mechanisms, however, patents tend to be the least emphasized by firms in the majority of manufacturing industries, and secrecy and lead time tend to be emphasized most heavily. A comparison of our results with the earlier survey findings of Levin et al. [1987] suggest that patents may be relied upon somewhat more heavily by larger firms now than in the early 1980s. For the protection of product innovations, secrecy now appears to be much more heavily employed across m...

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