Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law
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Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law

Vol 1: Theory Vol 2: Analytical Methods

Edited by Ben Depoorter, Peter Menell and David Schwartz

Both law and economics and intellectual property law have expanded dramatically in tandem over recent decades. This field-defining two-volume Handbook, featuring the leading legal, empirical, and law and economics scholars studying intellectual property rights, provides wide-ranging and in-depth analysis both of the economic theory underpinning intellectual property law, and the use of analytical methods to study it.
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Chapter 13: Prize and reward alternatives to intellectual property

Michael Abramowicz


This chapter describes and assesses proposals to create alternatives to intellectual property for stimulating innovation that, unlike grants, are based on ex post assessments of inventions. Prize systems award money to the first or best to accomplish specified goals, while reward systems allow payments proportional to contribution. Design issues are considered, including the timing of payments, whether payments should be fixed or dependent on government assessments, whether the system should complement or replace traditional intellectual property, and whether a system should be designed for particular areas of inventive activity (such as pharmaceuticals) or applied more generally. The most important issue is that of valuation, and the chapter considers a variety of strategies for valuing contributions, including administrative assessment of ex post demand for inventions and the use of market mechanisms such as auctions. Effects on innovation and commercialization incentives are also explored.

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