Business Method Patents And U.S. Financial Services

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Executive Summary

A decade after the State Street decision, more than 1,000 business method patents are granted each year. Yet only one in ten is obtained by a financial institution. Most business method patents are also software patents. Have these patents increased innovation in financial services? To address this question the authors construct new indicators of R&D intensity based on the occupational composition of financial industries. The financial sector appears more research intensive than official statistics would suggest, but less than the private economy taken as a whole. There is considerable variation across industries but little apparent trend.

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