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An Empirical Look at Software Patents

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(NOTE: The information on this page, unless otherwise stated, is from the 2004 working version of the report which is freely available online. If you have a copy of the 2007 final version, it would be very useful if you could add information to this page and check that the information here isn't modified in the final version. Thanks.)

An Empirical Look at Software Patents is a paper jointly published in March 2004 by:

A version tagged "Working Paper" was published freely online in 2004 and is by far the most referenced version. The final version was published in 2007 but is not freely available.

[edit] Interesting parts

From the Abstract:

[...]The very large increase in software patent propensity over time is not adequately explained by changes in R&D investments, employment of computer programmers, or productivity growth. [...] We find evidence that software patents substitute for R&D at the firm level; they are associated with lower R&D intensity[...]

Page 37 claims that the USPTO grants 70 software patents per day.

From the conclusion:

For industries like software or computer, there is actually good reason to believe that imitation becomes a spur to innovation, while strong patents become an impediment

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