Literature/202405081113 against research exemptions

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Patents are meant to address a market failure associated with the creation of knowledge. They allow to "charge monopoly prices for goods whose marginal cost is close to zero".

If the purpose of patents is to stimulate investment in inventive activity, patents should last forever. If knowledge spill-over is the scope, patents should not exist at all.

Patents of finite length are a compromise in between both extremes.

These are some arguments against research exceptions for patents:

  • Patents do not prohibit researchers from using patented knowledge. It merely requires them to secure a license, and pay monopoly prices. Therefore it only increases the cost of research.
  • Researchers would start paying for the knowledge created by other researchers, paying for the fix costs of discovery as well as the ongoing marginal costs.
  • In this cases, researchers will have to attract higher levels of funding, and part of that will be funneled upstream. Licensing without exceptions provides an efficient way to balance investment incentives with appropriate spill-overs.


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Aquiles Carattino
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