Would Global Patent Protection Be Too Weak Without International Coordination?
This paper analyzes the setting of national patent policies in the global economy. In the standard model with free trade and social-welfare-maximizing governments ? la Grossman and Lai (2004), cross-border positive policy externalities induce individual countries to select patent strengths that are weaker than is optimal from a global perspective. The paper introduces three new features to the analysis: trade barriers, firm heterogeneity in terms of productivity and political economy considerations in setting patent policies.