Jenny Lin, William Lincoln, 06 July 2018

Disagreements over intellectual property rights policies have been a major roadblock in recent trade agreement talks, and the issue has also been a pillar of critiques of globalisation. This column discusses new research that matches confidential, comprehensive data on firm patenting and trade behaviour for the first time. It shows that, all else equal, firms who hold patents in the US are significantly more likely to export to countries that better protect intellectual property rights.

Thomas Holmes, Ellen McGrattan, Edward Prescott, 08 November 2013

Why are FDI flows between China and technologically-advanced countries surprisingly small? This column analyses the issue in light of China's quid pro quo policy that makes technology transfer a precondition of foreign firms selling in China. We find that the policy provides significant gains for China, but losses to its FDI partners.

Zhihong Yu , Markus Eberhardt, Christian Helmers, 27 September 2011

The number of domestic patent filings in China increased at an annual rate of 35% from 1999 to 2006. But the reasons behind this ‘patent explosion’ are unclear. By compiling a new dataset of 20,000 Chinese manufacturing firms, this column shows that the explosion has been ignited by the ICT sector.

Rachel Griffith, Helen Miller, 30 June 2011

Governments around the world are grappling with the question of how to tax the income from intellectual property. This column asks whether offering tax breaks – called Patent Boxes after the box companies must tick on their tax forms – will lead to a race to the bottom across Europe and who, if anyone, benefits.

Roger Smeets, Albert de Vaal, 15 March 2011

Proponents of strong intellectual property rights protection argue that it enhances incentives for innovation and knowledge transfer. Opponents, on the other hand, stress the reduction in knowledge spillovers. Using a sample of large, publicly traded firms from 22 developed countries, this column finds that stronger intellectual property rights have a positive and robust effect on backward knowledge diffusion from multinational firms.

Josh Lerner, 18 February 2011

Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School talks to Viv Davies about his book, co-authored with Mark Schankerman, ‘The Comingled Code: Open Source and Economic Development’. Lerner discusses the economic impact of open source software and its relationship with innovation and growth. Drawing from a new database, Lerner describes how open source and proprietary software interact and suggests how government policy should ensure that open source competes effectively with proprietary software. The interview was recorded by telephone on 14 February 2011. [Also read the transcript]

Sebastian Engelhardt, Andreas Freytag, Stephen Maurer, 29 October 2010

Governments are increasingly interested in promoting open source software. Yet policymakers have seldom laid out any clear theoretical or empirical justification for these policies. This column explores recent studies suggesting that open source and proprietary software strengthen each other and should co-exist – too much open source could actually be a bad thing.

Sudipto Bhattacharya, Sergei Guriev, 09 November 2007

Patenting has soared in recent decades, but much intermediate knowledge is protected by industrial secrecy, so relaxing patent protection must impact the secrecy option. Recent research suggests that the relationship between patent protection and knowledge transmission is hump-shaped and sector-specific. This suggests that patent protection standards should be sector-specific.

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