Estimating the Gains from Trade in the Market for Patent Rights

Authors: Carlos Serrano

International Economic Review, Vol. 59, No 4, 1877-1904, November, 2018

The “market for patents”—the sale of patents—is an often discussed source of incentives to invest in R&D. This article presents and estimates a model of the transfer and renewal of patents that, under some assumptions, allows me to quantify the gains resulting from the transfer of patents. The gains from trade measure the private benefits of reallocating the ownership of a patent from the original patentee to a new owner for whom the patent has a higher value. In addition, I study the effect that lowering transaction costs has on the proportion of patents traded and the gains from trade.