You are here


Essays on Intellectual Property

Ryan Michigan, 2011
Faculty Advisor: Jerry Kim


This dissertation consists of three essays on regulation. In the first essay, "Firm Reputation and Screening at the Patent Office" , we assert that the patent office is an important regulator, exerting influence on firm outcomes. Prior research argues that powerful groups such as top innovators are able to capture their regulators, gaining favorable treatment in return for either monetary contributions to legislators' political committees or hoped-for future employment of regulators in the firms they regulate or in the firms of their legal representatives. It is also argued that regulators face many audiences and attempt to maximize their legitimacy to political entities, legal entities, the general public and the firms affected by their regulation. This can introduce a lack of consistency in decision-making. Given the considerable power of many regulators, this has implications for both policy and firm strategy.

The patent office, in particular, faces considerable uncertainty about the value of the patent rights it provides. Further, patent examiners are under pressure to grant patents quickly and have no way of permanently disposing of an application other than by granting it. We argue that patent examiners tend to look for certain signals in attempting to determine the quality of the application. We assert that the patent office's focus on helping its clients obtain intellectual property rights make their clients' prior reputations most salient. Therefore examiners tend to rely on the prominence of the applicant in the prior patent art. This can grant either a positive or negative reputation depending upon the general reputation of that field in prior patent art.

We utilize a dataset of all patents granted from 2001-2003. We use examiner-added citations to prior patent art, controlling for applicant-added citations as a measure of examiner screening. We find that firm reputation for patenting influences the level of scrutiny to which a patent application is subjected. In the conclusion we discuss the implications of these findings.

In the second essay, "Which drugs obtain the Pediatric Exclusivity Provision" we examine the pediatric exclusivity regulation provision. Pediatric exclusivity is designed to reward companies for conducting pediatric trials for dosage and safety with 6 months' extra monopoly on their drug. Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys from 1996-2007 and drug data from the FDA, we find that companies appear to base the decision to conduct pediatric trials almost solely on the basis of current sales (and hence presumably future projected revenue). We find the threshold for a sharply increased probability of obtaining pediatric exclusivity is annual sales of $260 million in the prior year. We estimate, very conservatively, that the total liability to consumers is US$ 21 billion as of end 2007.

We also find, in accordance with prior criticism, that, (barring ADHD drugs, which are marketed primarily to minors) even after controlling for the total sales, the proportion of sales to minors does not affect the probability of obtaining pediatric exclusivity. This is in concordance with regulatory capture theory which would suggest that a powerful group (i.e., brand-name drug manufacturers ) influenced Congress to pass this legislation to procure a benefit for themselves with a not-easily perceived cost to the much more diffuse group of pharmaceutical customers who pay brand-name prices for 6 more months as a result of delayed generic entry.

In the third essay "Pediatric Exclusivity - Are the intended benefits being realized?" we examine the underlying rationale for the pediatric exclusivity and test whether the intended benefits of pediatric exclusivity are being realized. The pediatric exclusivity rule is intended to provide benefits to pediatric patients by providing clinicians with label information regarding safety and dosage in pediatric populations. We test whether valuable and important information is being produced and disseminated by the clinical trials that are undertaken to gain pediatric exclusivity. We do this by examining the patterns of publication of clinical trials before and after pediatric exclusivity is obtained and by examining the patterns of prescriptions to minor patients before and after pediatric exclusivity is obtained.

We find no evidence of greater dissemination of pediatric information in the peer-reviewed literature after obtaining pediatric exclusivity. We also find no evidence of changing patterns of prescriptions to minor patients after pediatric exclusivity is obtained. This leads us to question the value of the information being provided and conclude that the intended benefits of pediatric exclusivity provision are not being realized. We conclude that pediatric exclusivity legislation is an example of regulatory capture, designed primarily to increase monopoly protection of the sales of brand-name drugs without producing many tangible benefits.

Download Dissertation

Application Deadlines

Master of Science in Marketing >

For Fall 2016 Entry:

Available: August 1st, 2015
Deadline: January 4th, 2016


Master of Science in Financial Economics >

For Fall 2016 Entry:

Available: August 1st, 2015
Deadline: January 4th, 2016


Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering >

For Fall 2016 Entry:
To be determined


Available 8/1/15
Sept 2016

Deadline: 01/05/16

MS Marketing
Deadline: 01/04/16

MS Financial Economics
Deadline: 01/04/16


Doctoral Program News

Young Alumni Balseiro wins George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award

At the 2014 Informs national meeting, Santiago Balseiro was honored for his work in "Competition and Yield Optimization in Ad Exchanges". We congratulate Santiago on his accomplishment.

Read More Here

Ethan Rouen wins Deloitte Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting

The Deloitte Foundation has awarded $25,000 grants to 10 top accounting Ph.D. candidates through the Deloitte Foundation’s annual Doctoral Fellowship program. Given to students who plan to pursue academic careers upon graduation, the award will support the 2015 recipients’ final year of coursework and the subsequent year to complete their doctoral dissertation.

Read More Here

Honigsberg featured in Ideas at Work

The August issue of Ideas at Work features research that doctoral candidate Colleen Honigsberg led in conjunction with Sharon Katz.

Read More about Colleen

Wazlawek featured in Ideas at Work

Abbie Wazlawek's joint research with Professor Daniel Ames is featured in the June 24th, 2014 edition of Ideas at Work

Read More about Abbie

Ethan Rouen featured in Ideas at Work

Ethan Rouen's joint research with Professor Dan Amiram is featured in the May 15th, 2014 edition of Ideas at Work

Read More about Abbie

Rivas Wins Fellowship

The PhD program is proud to congratulate Miguel Duro Rivas, who was awarded the Nasdaq Educational Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

Read More about Miguel

Wong wins Deloitte Fellowship

We are proud to announce that Yu Ting (Forester) Wong is one of the recipients of the 2014 Deloitte Foundation Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting.

Read More About Yu Ting >

The PhD Program Congratulates John Yao

PhD student John Yao was a finalist in the 2013 M&SOM (Manufacturing & Service Operations Management) student paper competition.

Read More About John >

Honigsberg Named Postdoctoral Fellow

The PhD program is proud to congratulate Colleen Honigsberg, who was named the Postdoctoral Fellow in Corporate Governance at the Millstein Center at Columbia Law School in October 2013

Read More about Colleen >


Check Application Status

Students listening to classroom lecture

Once you've submitted your application, you can login and track your status by using the link below.

Check Status