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The Transfer of Patents in Imperial Germany


Burhop,  Carsten
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Society;

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Burhop, C. (2009). The Transfer of Patents in Imperial Germany.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-6CF9-D
We describe the transfer of patents in late 19th- and early 20th- century Germany using a new and comprehensive database containing information on about 20,000 transactions. The number of transactions shows an upward trend, in total numbers and as a share of patents in force. In total, about eight percent of patents were transferred at least once during their existence. Many transactions involved the transfer of patents with an above-average quality from individual inventors to firms and to newly-created – ‘entrepreneurial’ – firms. In addition, valuable patents were transferred between firms. About two-thirds of all transfers occurred during the first three years of a patents’ existence, giving the new owner potentially a long period of patent protection.