Department of Economics, University of Munich,
80799 Munich, Germany
Institutional Affiliation: University of Munich
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2018||Disclosure and Subsequent Innovation: Evidence from the Patent Depository Library Program|
with Jeffrey L. Furman, Markus Nagler: w24660
How important is information disclosure through patents for subsequent innovation? Although disclosure is regarded as essential to the functioning of the patent system, legal scholars have expressed considerable skepticism about its value in practice. To adjudicate this issue, we examine the expansion of the USPTO Patent and Trademark Depository Library system between 1975 to 1997. Whereas the exclusion rights associated with patents are national in scope, the opening of these patent libraries during the pre-Internet era yielded regional variation in the costs to access the technical information (prior art) disclosed in patent documents. We find that after a patent library opens, local patenting increases by 17% relative to control regions that have Federal Depository Libraries. A number o...