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Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights

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  • Jean Olson Lanjouw
  • Mark Schankerman
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    Abstract

    We study the determinants of patent suits and their outcomes over the period 1978-1999 by linking detailed information from the U.S. patent office, the federal court system, and industry sources. The probability of being involved in a suit is heterogeneous, being much higher for valuable patents and for patents owned by individuals and smaller firms. Thus the patent system generates incentives, net of expected enforcement costs, that differ across inventors. Patentees with a large portfolio of patents to trade, or having other characteristics that encourage "cooperative" interaction with disputants, more successfully avoid court actions. At the same time, key post-suit outcomes do not depend on observed characteristics. This is good news: advantages in settlement are exercised quickly, before extensive legal proceedings consume both court and firm resources. But it is bad news in that the more frequent involvement of smaller patentees in court actions is not offset by a more rapid resolution of their suits. However, our estimates of the heterogeneity in litigation risk can facilitate development of private patent litigation to mitigate this adverse effect of high enforcement costs.

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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/ei/ei30.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Economics of Industry Papers with number 30.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:stieip:30

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    Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

    Related research

    Keywords: Parents; court actions; settement.;

    References

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    1. Graham, Stuart J. H. & Hall, Bronwyn H. & Harhoff, Dietmar & Mowery, David C., 2002. "Post-Issue Patent "Quality Control": A Comparative Study of US Patent Re-Examinations and European Patent Oppositions," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2qt097bd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bronwyn H. Hall & Stuart J.H. Graham & Dietmar Harhoff, 2003. "Prospects for Improving U.S. Patent Quality via Post-grant Opposition," NBER Working Papers 9731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2003. "Business Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," NBER Working Papers 9717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Graham, Stuart J.H. & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2006. "Can Post-Grant Reviews Improve Patent System Design? A Twin Study of US and European Patents," CEPR Discussion Papers 5680, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Christine Greenhalgh & Padraig Dixon, 2002. "The Economics of Intellectual Property: A Review to Identify Themes for Future Research," Economics Series Working Papers 135, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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