Where Does State Street Lead? A First Look at Finance Patents, 1971-2000
This paper empirically examines patents for financial formulas and methods, whose patentability was recently confirmed in the litigation between State Street Bank and Trust and Signature Financial Group. The number of such filings and awards has been accelerating. Patent filings by academics have been very infrequent, which appears to be a consequence of a lack of awareness or interest on the part of faculty members, rather than any fundamental unsuitability of their research for patenting. The failure to cite academic research in this area appears to be problematic and may reflect patent examiners' limited exposure to finance research and patents. The final section discusses the challenges that these developments pose to academic finance.