The Effect of Patent Protection on Inventor Mobility

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This article investigates the effect of patent protection on the mobility of early-career employee-inventors. Using data on patent applications filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office between 2001 and 2012 and examiner leniency as a source of exogenous variation in patent protection, we find that one additional patent granted decreases the likelihood of changing employers, on average, by 23 percent. This decrease is stronger when the employee has fewer coinventors, works outside the core of the firm, and produces more basic-research innovations. These findings are consistent with the idea that patents turn innovation-related skills into patent-holder-specific human capital.
Bibliographic citation: MELERO, E., PALOMERAS, N., WEHRHEIM, D. (2020). The Effect of Patent Protection on Inventor Mobility. Management Science, 66 (12), 5485-5504. doi:10.1287/mnsc.2019.3500.

Reference: 10.1287/mnsc.2019.3500 (DOI)
Date: 01/12/2020
Author(s): Eduardo Melero; Neus Palomeras; David Wehrheim
Document type: Article in Journal (refereed)
Department: Strategic Management
Languages: English
Year of the events: 2001 - 2012
Geographic area: United States