jueves, 4 de octubre de 2012

Patentes vs Innovación?

Pues eso es más o menos lo que dice este artículo de Boldrin y Levine que se está difundiendo rápidamente en la web (supongo que ayudado por los líos Apple-Samsung): que las patentes no ayudan a la innovación, sino todo lo contrario. El resumen:
The case against patents can be summarized briefly: there is no empirical evidence that they serve to increase innovation and productivity, unless the latter is identified with the number of patents awarded – which, as evidence shows, has no correlation with measured productivity. This is at the root of the “patent puzzle”: in spite of the enormeous increase in the number of patents and in the strength of their legal protection we have neither seen a dramatic acceleration in the rate of technological progress nor a major increase in the levels of R&D expenditure – in addition to the discussion in this paper, see Lerner [2009] and literature therein. As we shall see, there is strong evidence, instead, that patents have many negative consequences. Both of these observations, the evidence in support of which has grown steadily over time, are consistent with theories of innovation that emphasize competition and first-mover advantage as the main drivers of innovation and directly contradict “Schumpeterian” theories postulating that government granted monopolies are crucial in order to provide incentives for innovation. The differing predictive and explanatory powers of the two alternative classes of models persist when attention is shifted to the historical evidence on the life-cycle of industries. The initial eruption of small and large innovations leading to the creation of a new industry – from chemicals to cars, from radio and TV to personal computers and investment banking – is seldom, if ever, born out of patent protection and is, instead, the fruits of highly competitive-cooperative environments. It is only after the initial stages of explosive innovation and rampant growth end that mature industries turn toward the legal protection of patents, usually because their internal grow potential diminishes and the industry structure become concentrated.
Habrá que leérselo con cuidado, porque el resumen dice alguna cosa curiosa: yo no veo por qué el número de patentes tenga que llevar a un aumento de los gastos en I+D, más bien sería al contrario. Y sobre todo, a ver cómo miden el avance tecnológico para relacionarlo con las patentes...No es que la idea sea nueva, esto ya lo proponía Tabarrok, pero la evidencia empírica siempre ayuda. En todo caso, si es cierto, para los académicos esto tiene una consecuencia directa: inse acabó lo de usar las patentes como proxy de la innovación...

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