Comparing Legal and Alternative Institutions in Commerce Franklin Allen Jun “QJ” Qian

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Notes: *: Countries with population less than 20 million or GDP less than US$ 20 billion are excluded from this ranking.

Source: IMF World Economic Outlook Database 2008.

Table 2 Major Medical Inventions and History of Patents


Purpose of Use


Invention Time

Have a patent?

Patent Holder

And When?


Instrument used to examine the eye

Charles Babbage


reinvented: Hermann von Helmholtz


refined: William Allyn & F. Welch


US Patent: 4065208

Welch Allyn


Hypodermic needle

A hollow needle used with a syringe to

Charles Pravaz & Alexander Wood


inject substances into the body

Disposable syringes: Arthur E. Smith


8 US Patents

Arthur E. Smith


Disposable syringes: Phil Brooks


US Patent

Phil Brooks


Hypodermic needle: K. Simm & D. Emis


US Patent

K Simm & D Emis


Carbolic acid (phenol)

sterilize surgical instrument to clean wounds

Joseph Lister

US Patent: 1950359

Rabies vaccination

To prevent rabies (viral neuroinvasive disease)

Louis Pasteur

Jul 6, 1885


Contact Lens

A corrective, cosmetic or therapeutic lens

Descriptions of lenses: Leonardo da Vinci


Corneal contact lens: Rene Descartes


Water-filled glass tube with lens: T. Young


Invented and made: Adolf Eugen Fick


Grinding to fit eye's surface: John Herschel


US made plastic lens: W. Feinbloom


Plastic lens: Kevin Tuohy


Soft and gas-permeable lens



Used for diagnostic radiography

Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen

Nov 8, 1895


Graphic produced by an electrocardiograph

String galvanometer: Willem Einthoven


US Patent: 4457309

Elemeskog; Alf U.

Feb. 1982

of the electrical activity of the heart


A device used to measure blood pressure

R. H. Miller


US Patent: 2560237

R. H. Miller


Pocket sphygmomanometer: Man S. Oh


US Patent: 6752764

Pocket: Man S. Oh



Treatment of bacterial infections

Sir Alexander Fleming


US Patent:

Andrew J. Moyer


Artificial pacemaker

A electrical device to regulate heart beating

Earl Bakken & C. Walton Lillehei


US Patent: 4009721

Alcidi; Mario


Heart Transplant

Procedure for patients with heart failure

Christiaan Barnard

Dec, 1967


or severe coronary artery disease


Imaging technique primarily used in Radiology

Paul Lauterbur & Peter Mansfield


US Patent

R. Damadian


CAT scan

Medical imaging using tomography

Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield


US Patent: 3922552

Robert S. Ledley


Allan Mcleod cormack

Ultrasound scan

An ultrasound-based diagnostic imaging

Lan Donald


US Patent: 5860925

D. Liu; (conversion)


Artificial Heart

Prosthetic device implanted to replace heart

Robert Jarvik


US Patent: 3097366

Paul Winchell


Figure 1 Comparing Payments Systems in Developed Countries

Source: Bank for International Settlements, “Statistics on Payment and Settlement Systems in Selected Countries,” March 2006,

* We appreciate helpful comments from Nittai Bergman, Markus Brunnermeier, Jim Heckman, Bob Nelson, Maureen O’Hara, Katharina Pistor, and participants at the World Justice Project meeting of committee members in Chicago. Research assistance by Sailu Li and financial support from the American Bar Association, Boston College and the Wharton Financial Institutions Center are gratefully acknowledged. The authors are responsible for all remaining errors.

† Corresponding author: Finance Department, Carroll School of Management, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. Phone: 617-552-3145, fax: 617-552-0431, E-mail:

1 The World Bank significantly adjusted its PPP-based estimates of GDP for large emerging countries such as China and India downward in 2008; a third source, the CIA, produces PPP-figures that are in between those from the IMF and the World Bank. More information is available from the websites of these organizations, and from the authors upon request. Also see Heston (2008) for a review and comparison of different PPP-based GDP figures and methodologies.

2 For more descriptions of China’s financial system see AQQ (2005b, 2008). For more anecdotal evidence on the development of China’s financial system in the same period, see, for example, Kirby (1995) and Lee (1993).

3 However, the courts, while not the most popular method of dispute resolution, appear to have some utility as a negotiating tool. When asked what a firm does to ensure payment or repayment (more than one response allowed), about 59% replied that they would go to court while leaving negotiation possibilities open.

4 For example, Thomas Jefferson, a prolific inventor and founding father of the U.S. Constitution, was known for his suspicion of granting monopoly power to inventors (‘no patent for ideas’). As Secretary of State, he also held the post as Examiner of American Patents, and insisted on thorough examination of the originality and novelty of an invention applying for patents. During the second half of the 19th Century, an effective abolitionist movement, which promoted free trade and competition and viewed patents as part of an anti-competitive and protectionist strategy analogous to tariffs on imports, paused the process of adoption of patent laws in European countries. In particular, the Netherlands repealed its patent legislation in 1869 and did not reinstate the patent system until 1912 (e.g., Khan, 2005).

5 For example, Stanford library holds 9 million volumes of “Orphan Works,” or books/print materials that are still in copyright but out of print with virtually no continuing commercial viability.

6 Nobody registered the name Linux till August 1995, when William Della Croce, Jr., applied for a trademark and demanded royalties from Linux distributors. Mr. Torvalds and other affected organizations sued him to have the trademark assigned to Torvalds, and the case was settled in 1997. Mr. Torvalds has repeatedly stated that he only trademarked the name to prevent others from using it, but was bound in 2005 by US trademark law to take active measures to enforce the trademark. As a result, the Linux Mark Institute, holder of the name, had to request a fee be paid for the use of the name and a number of companies have complied.

7 The industry is also in dispute with Apple over iTunes, now the largest retailer in music (surpassing Wal-Mart stores). The Universal Music Group of Vivendi, the world’s largest music corporation, notified Apple recently that it will not renew its annual contracts to sell music through iTunes (New York Times, 07/02/2007). One of the industry’s main complaints is Mr. Steve Jobs (founder and CEO of Apple)’s strong stance on the uniform pricing rule of 99 cents per song, a strategy that abandons price discrimination and would hurt sales according to the industry.

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