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Patents

2012

Lea Shaver

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Illuminating Innovation, Lea B. Shaver Mar 2012

Illuminating Innovation, Lea B. Shaver

Lea Shaver

The central justification offered for patent protection is the need to incentivize technological innovation. Yet to date there is little empirical evidence that this aim is achieved. This Article argues that historical case studies, exploring the impact of patent law on particular fields of technological innovation, can be especially helpful in providing an empirical foundation for patent scholarship. The Article then proceeds to offer one such case study, focused on one of the most important technological revolutions of the past two centuries: electrification. Although Thomas Edison and “the incandescent lamp” have been extensively studied, so far no one has asked ...