We know that developing countries can strategically manipulate the “strength” of their invention patent regimes (e.g., laws) throughout different stages of development to facilitate a transition from imitation to innovation. However, we know very little about how changes to the strength of second-tier patent regimes – those for utility model patents (“utility models”) – impact technological development. I undertake what appears to be the first global empirical study into this question, investigating the workings of utility model regimes in more than 60 countries. Based on a review of laws governing the utility model regimes in each country from the time of their inception till 2016, I compile novel indexes of the strength of the regimes in terms of their strictness (difficulty they pose to obtaining and maintaining rights) and their appropriability-strength (length and breadth of rights they afford). I then econometrically investigate how changes in the strength of utility model regimes directly impact proxies of technological development and do so more indirectly by interacting with changing invention patent regime strength. Several interesting findings arise.
A light lunch will be provided. All are welcome.