NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Reiko Aoki

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Working Papers

March 1995Product Development and the Timing of Information Disclosure under U.S.and Japanese Patent Systems
with Thomas J. Prusa: w5063
This paper examines the consequences of the differences in the timing of information disclosure between the U.S. and Japanese patent systems. Under the Japanese system it is possible for a firm to apply for a patent knowing the exact specifications of a rival's patent application. In contrast, in the U.S. the only way a firm learns about a rival's innovation is upon the actual granting of the rival's patent. We argue that this difference enables Japanese firms to coordinate their R&D efforts better than their U.S. counterparts and that this, in turn, leads to smaller quality improvements under the Japanese system. We show that the creation/diffusion tradeoff of patents can be influenced not only by the scope and length of patent protection but also by other features of the patenting pr...

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