4/20/2016 - Heidi Williams (MIT) - How Do Patents Affect Follow-on Innovation? Evidence from the Human Genome

Presentation Date: 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


CGIS Knafel K354

Title: How Do Patents Affect Follow-on Innovation? Evidence from the Human Genome 

With Bhaven Sampat


We investigate whether patents on human genes have affected

follow-on scientific research and product development. Using

administrative data on successful and unsuccessful patent applications

submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office, we link the exact gene

sequences claimed in each application with data measuring follow-on

scientific research and commercial investments.   Using this data,  we

document novel evidence of selection into patenting: patented genes

appear more valuable — prior to being patented — than non-patented

genes. This evidence of selection motivates two quasi-experimental

approaches, both of which suggest that on average gene patents have had

no effect on follow-on innovation.

See also: 2016