We investigate the value creation or destruction associated with the introduction of software patents in the United States in two ways. The first looks at the cumulative abnormal returns to ICT firms around the time of important court decisions impacting software patents, and the second analyzes the relationship between firms' stock market value, the sector in which they operate, and their holdings of software patents cross-sectionally. We find that the extension of patentability to software was initially negative for software firms, especially for those producing application software or services. We also find that software patents are positively and significantly associated with Tobin's Q, and that the market's valuation of software patents increased following changes in the USPTO's treatment of software patents in 1995.
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