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Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights

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  • Lanjouw, Jean O
  • Schankerman, Mark
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    Abstract

    We study the determinants of patent suits and their outcomes over the period 1978-99 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 very 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. Our estimates of the heterogeneity in litigation risk can, however, facilitate development of private patent litigation insurance to mitigate this adverse affect of high enforcement costs.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3093.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3093

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    Related research

    Keywords: court actions; patents;

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    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 & David C. Mowery, 2004. "Prospects for Improving U.S. Patent Quality via Post-grant Opposition," Law and Economics 0401002, EconWPA.
    2. Hall, Bronwyn H., 2003. "Business Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt66w6p7qz, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.

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