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Abstract

I perform an event study on 600+ patents awarded primarily to 20 leading biotechnology firms and find significant changes in market values at the time of the awards. Adjusting for partial anticipation of events, I estimate that core technology patents in highly contested research areas are expected to generate between $13 and $21 million of economic value. They also generate spillover benefits for the patentee's rivals-presumably including knowledge transfers-valued at $3 to $6 million per firm. Awardees may appropriate only half of private benefits, although I observe negative spillovers for some high-profile awards. Most patents have no significant market impact.

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