- MANAGEMENT SCIENCE Journal
- May 2020
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- This article investigates the effect of patent protection on the mobility of earlycareer employee-inventors. Using data on patent applications filed at the U.S. 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%. 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.
- inventors; patents; mobility; specific human capital; examiner leniency