Re: AltInst: Minimum innovation size for patents

From: Lee Daniel Crocker <>
Date: Mon Dec 07 1998 - 12:34:05 PST

> This article investigates patent protection for a long sequence
> of innovations where firms repeatedly supersede each other.
> Incentives for R&D can be insufficient if successful firms earn
> market profit only until competitors achieve something better.
> To correct this problem, patents must provide protection against
> future innovators. This article proposes using a patentability
> requirement--a minimum innovation size required for patents. A
> patentability requirement can stimulate R&D investment and
> increase dynamic efficiency. Intuitively, requiring firms to
> pursue larger innovations prolongs market incumbency because
> larger innovations are harder to achieve, and longer market
> incumbency implies an increased reward to innovation.

What's the proposal here? This is exactly how the patent system
works right now: the "minimum innovation" is precisely whatever
a court determines is sufficiently "novel and unobvious". This is,
of course, subjective, and always will be.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC
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Received on Mon Dec 7 21:14:59 1998

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