A patent is the legal right of an inventor to exclude others from making or using a particular invention. This right is sometimes termed an ‘intellectual property right’ and is viewed as an encouragement for innovation. This article gives a brief history of patenting, and discusses the legal and administrative process for obtaining a patent in the major world jurisdictions. Evidence on patent effectiveness in encouraging innovation is surveyed, and the article concludes with a discussion of the use of patent data in economic analysis.
KeywordsBiotechnology industry Innovation Intellectual property rights Inventions Patent citations Patent Cooperation Treaty Patent litigation Patent races Patent valuation Patents Pharmaceutical industry Research and development Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) World Intellectual Property Organization
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