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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain the effects of intellectual property rights on social and private rates of return.
  • Identify three U.S. Government policies and explain how they encourage innovation

A number of different government policies can increase the incentives to innovate, including: guaranteeing intellectual property rights, government assistance with the costs of research and development, and cooperative research ventures between universities and companies.

Intellectual property rights

One way to increase new technology is to guarantee the innovator an exclusive right to that new product or process. Intellectual property rights include patents, which give the inventor the exclusive legal right to make, use, or sell the invention for a limited time, and copyright laws, which give the author an exclusive legal right over works of literature, music, film/video, and pictures. For example, if a pharmaceutical firm has a patent    on a new drug, then no other firm can manufacture or sell that drug for twenty-one years, unless the firm with the patent grants permission. Without a patent, the pharmaceutical firm would have to face competition for any successful products, and could earn no more than a normal rate of profit. With a patent, a firm is able to earn monopoly profits on its product for a period of time—which offers an incentive for research and development. In general, how long can “a period of time” be? The Clear it Up discusses patent and copyright protection timeframes for some works you might have heard of.

How long is mickey mouse protected from being copied?

All patents and copyrights are scheduled to end someday. In 2003, copyright protection for Mickey Mouse was scheduled to run out. Once the copyright had expired, anyone would be able to copy Mickey Mouse cartoons or draw and sell new ones. In 1998, however, Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. For copyrights owned by companies or other entities, it increased or extended the copyright from 75 years to 95 years after publication. For copyrights owned by individuals, it increased or extended the copyright coverage from 50 years to 70 years after death. Along with protecting Mickey for another 20 years, the copyright extension affected about 400,000 books, movies, and songs.

[link] illustrates how the total number of patent applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the total number of patents granted, surged in the mid-1990s with the invention of the Internet, and is still going strong today.

Patents filed and granted, 1981–2012

The graph shows the number of patents filed and granted since 1992. While patents filed have increased substantially, patents granted have remained relatively constant in comparison.
The number of applications filed for patents increased substantially from the mid-1990s into the first years of the 2000s, due in part to the invention of the Internet, which has led to many other inventions and to the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act. (Source: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/us_stat.htm)

While patents provide an incentive to innovate by protecting the innovator, they are not perfect. For example:

Questions & Answers

describe the producer's scarce resources.. I.e land,Labour,capital and enterprise
Alfhah Reply
What are human behaviour?
Regina Reply
how can you describe economic goods in a much better easier way?
Alfhah Reply
what is deman and supply
Aruna Reply
Demand can be defined as the ability and willingness to buy commodities in a given price of goods and services in a particular period of time
Alasana
supply refers to the ability and willingness to offered commodities for sale in a given price of goods and services in a period of time .
Alasana
Demand can refer to the ability and willingness to purchase a commodity at a giving price and time.
habib
what must the producer do if total costs exceed total revenue
Mmusi Reply
raise price
Nguyen
scarcity resources sample
nawala Reply
what's scarcity
tumelo Reply
what are the two types of economic theory's?
Lizabeth Reply
i thick it is microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory. or it can be normative and positive economic theories.
Deep
yes^
Nguyen
with diagrams show thé change in prices in thé different time period that can result in an increase in demande
Fankam Reply
define momentary period
Fankam
What is a monopsony?
Allan Reply
monopsony is a situation where only one buyer is available in the market
The
And with many sellers?
Allan
oligopsony
The
to be more specific, oligopsony is a situation with many sellers but few buyers
The
Thank you
Allan
economic is tha process of banking
hashmat Reply
Pls can u explain it into details
Praise
Cause I don't understand what you are saying
Praise
brownies price is 5$ quantity demand is 5000$ supplied is 3000 if brownies are not taxed how many are consumed?
Fel Reply
what is unemployment
Rita Reply
ok so what would u say is supply in your own terms
Odessa Reply
Ok
fedaa
ya
Lal
why the demand curve is downwards sloping and supply upward sloping
Odessa Reply
the dd curve is downward sloping because consumers dd less when price is high and vice versa the ss curve is upward sloping suppliers are willing to produce more when prices are high
Clifford
what is dead weight loss
jeremy
when the prices of supplies slop upward then the prices of demand curve will increases downward
Kerubino

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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