How Do Patents Affect Follow-On Innovation? Evidence from the Human Genome
We investigate whether patents on human genes have affected follow-on scientific research and product development. Using administrative data on successful and unsuccessful patent applications submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office, we link the exact gene sequences claimed in each application with data measuring follow-on scientific research and commercial investments. Using this data, we document novel evidence of selection into patenting: patented genes appear more valuable—prior to being patented—than non-patented genes. This evidence of selection motivates two quasi-experimental approaches, both of which suggest that on average gene patents have had no quantitatively important effect on follow-on innovation.
Daron Acemoglu, Josh Angrist, David Autor, Pierre Azoulay, Stefan Bechtold, Nick Bloom, Tim Bresnahan, Joe Doyle, Dan Fetter, Amy Finkelstein, Alberto Galasso, Nancy Gallini, Joshua Gans, Aaron Kesselheim, Pat Kline, Amanda Kowalski, Mark Lemley, Josh Lerner, Petra Moser, Ben Olken, Ariel Pakes, Jim Poterba, Arti Rai, Mark Schankerman, Scott Stern, Mike Whinston, and seminar participants at Analysis Group, Brown, Chicago Booth, Clemson, Dartmouth, Duke, the Federal Reserve Board, Harvard, HBS, MIT, Northwestern Kellogg, the NBER (Law and Economics, Productivity and Public Economics), Stanford, UC-Berkeley Haas, UC-Santa Barbara, the USPTO, and Williams College provided very helpful comments. We are very grateful to Ernie Berndt for help with accessing the Pharmaprojects data; to Osmat Jefferson, the CAMBIA Lens initiative, Lee Fleming, and Guan-Cheng Li for sharing USPTO-related data; and to Joey Anderson, Jeremy Brown, Lizi Chen, Alex Fahey, Cirrus Foroughi, Yunzhi Gao, Grant Graziani, Tamri Matiashvili, Kelly Peterson, Lauren Russell, Mahnum Shahzad, Sophie Sun, Nicholas Tilipman, Myles Wagner, and Hanwen Xu for excellent research assistance. Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Aging and the NIH Common Fund, Office of the NIH Director, through Grant U01-AG046708 to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); the content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or NBER. This work/research was also funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; the contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the Grantee. Financial support from NIA Grant Number T32-AG000186 to the NBER, NSF Grant Number 1151497, the NBER Innovation Policy and the Economy program, and the Toulouse Network for Information Technology is also gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Bhaven Sampat & Heidi L. Williams, 2019. "How Do Patents Affect Follow-On Innovation? Evidence from the Human Genome," American Economic Review, vol 109(1), pages 203-236. citation courtesy of