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Unpublished Paper
ExpressO (2014)
  • Camilla A. Hrdy, Yale Law School
Some patent law scholars have proposed introducing new forms of patents to promote commercialization of inventions that would not otherwise be commercialized, or at least not within a reasonable period of time. In this Article I suggest that so-called commercialization patents are unnecessary because the United States already has a system for promoting commercialization of inventions that does not require creating unprecedented exclusive rights: direct government financing. Drawing on statutes and administrative codes, I provide an in-depth account of the major commercialization financing options for inventors and entrepreneurs at both the federal and state levels. I then compare these incentives, called commercialization awards, to newly proposed commercialization patents. I show that, like commercialization patents, commercialization awards create strong incentives to commercialize inventions in the near future, and that award administrators employ a variety of strategies, such as strict investment matching requirements, to reduce the risk of wasting public money on projects that are not commercially viable. Given that non-patent commercialization incentives exist and may be as efficient or more efficient than commercialization patents, I argue that we do not need new forms of exclusive rights to promote commercialization and that introducing these rights would be unwise – especially in light of empirical uncertainty regarding whether patents promote innovation and the current anti-patent climate.
  • patents,
  • commercialization patents,
  • comparative analysis,
  • SBIR,
  • state venture capital financing,
  • federalism
Publication Date
April 1, 2014
Citation Information
Camilla A. Hrdy. "COMMERCIALIZATION AWARDS" ExpressO (2014)
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