Transaction Costs and Patent Reform

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article considers current proposals for patent law reform in light of a simple theory about intellectual property law: In a world without transaction costs, the assignment of property rights is not necessary to stimulate the optimal production of creative goods. Because potential users of inventions could contract for their creation, a compelling justification for granting property rights in these intangibles is the reduction of real-world transaction and information costs that hinder, or make impossible, contract formation between users and creators. Proposals for patent law reform, therefore, should be evaluated by whether a change in legal rights, or in the regulatory process increases or lowers these costs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
Pages (from-to)447-462
Number of pages16
JournalSanta Clara High Technology Law Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004


  • Patents
  • Inventions
  • Transaction costs
  • EBay
  • Reform


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