NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Stronger Protection or Technological Revolution: What is Behind the Recent Surge in Patenting?

Samuel Kortum, Josh Lerner

NBER Working Paper No. 6204
Issued in September 1997
NBER Program(s):   PR

We investigate the cause of an unprecedented surge of U.S. patenting over the past" decade. Conventional wisdom points to the establishment of the Court of Appeals of the" Federal Circuit by Congress in 1982. We examine whether this institutional change benefitted patent holders, explains the burst in U.S. patenting. Using both international and" domestic data on patent applications and awards, we conclude that the evidence is not favorable" to the conventional view. Instead, it appears that the jump in patenting reflects an increase in" U.S. innovation spurred by changes in the management of research.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6204

Published: Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Vol. 48 (June 1998): 247-304. Research Policy, Vol. 28 (January 1999): 1-22 (condensed version printedas "What is Behind the Recent Surge in Parenting?").

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