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Strategic Patenting in Biotechnology

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Patents can be used by their owners in a variety of strategic ways in the market place that do not necessarily conform with the original idea of patents as a remedy against market failure. More patenting does not lead to more innovation in all cases. This article looks at the relevance of patents and their strategic uses in the biotechnology industry. The article considers the different motives for applying for patents and various strategies. Theoretical considerations are made based on empirical findings from a survey of the Swiss biotechnology industry carried out in 2003. The empirical data confirm that patents for biotechnological inventions are important as an incentive for investment in R&D and that patents are an efficient tool for protecting biotechnological inventions. Strategic patenting is not very common in Switzerland and there are no signs for an abusive level of strategic patenting.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Economic Counsellor, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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