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Who benefits? An empirical analysis of Australian and US patent ownership

CollectionsANU School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)
Title: Who benefits? An empirical analysis of Australian and US patent ownership
Author(s): Moir, Hazel V J
Haunss, Sebastian
Shadlen, Kenneth C.
Keywords: patents
Publisher: The Australian National University, Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet)
Citation: Moir, H. (2008) Who benefits? An empirical analysis of Australian and US patent ownership. Centre for Governance of Knowledge and Development Working Paper, October 2008. Canberra: ANU, Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet)
Public choice theory provides a parsimonious explanation of changes in public policy, yet there is little systematic data available about the major beneficiaries of patent systems. This paper uses data from the US and Australia to identify those companies which own the largest number of patents from applications made between 1990 and 2001. In both countries the 100 companies owning the most patents own about one-third of all patents owned by organisations. Forty-six companies—many of them household names—are among both the top 100 US patenters and the top 100 Australian patenters. Forty-six companies are on both lists. Among the top 100 US patenters, 43 are US based. In Australia only one of the top 100 patenters is an Australian company. Major patenters are selective in the technologies they patent in Australia—few semi-conductor companies take out Australian patents, while pharmaceuticals and chemicals have a larger share than in the USA. Twelve of the 13 companies that played a major role in the development of the TRIPS agenda have been among the top 100 US patenters. However data on the top 10 US patenters from 1969 to 2006 show that since the mid 1980s—the very time when US patent policy was extending to achieve a global reach—overseas companies replaced US companies as the dominant US patenters.
ISBN: 9.78185E+12


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