Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2000

Abstract

Legal scholars and economists might enhance the value and impact of their work by making more effective use of each other's knowledge and capabilities. Legal scholars can offer a more nuanced understanding of the legal rules that underlie the patent system and the doctrinal levers that might be manipulated in furtherance of public policy goals. Economists bring to bear a set of analytical and methodological tools that could shed considerable light on what these doctrinal levers are doing and which of them we ought to be manipulating. Together, we have a better chance of asking the right questions and thinking about them in a useful way. Towards that end, this Essay provides an overview of issues of patent doctrine that might be illuminated by good work in law and economics. It is important not only to identify the levers in the patent system that are available for manipulation, but also to understand which policy choices are best addressed through the manipulation of each of these levers. Economic analysis that is grounded in a better understanding of patent doctrine can better inform us about the most effective use of the levers that control the operation of the patent system.


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