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Incidence and Growth of Patent Thickets - The Impact of Technological Opportunities and Complexity

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  • Harhoff, Dietmar
  • von Graevenitz, Georg
  • Wagner, Stefan

Abstract

We investigate incidence and evolution of patent thickets. Our empirical analysis is based on a theoretical model of patenting in complex and discrete technologies. The model captures how competition for patent portfolios and complementarity of patents affect patenting incentives. We show that lower technological opportunities increase patenting incentives in complex technologies while they decrease incentives in discrete technologies. Also, more competitors increase patenting incentives in complex technologies and reduce them in discrete technologies. To test these predictions a new measure of the density of patent thickets is introduced. European patent citations are used to construct measures of fragmentation and technological opportunity. Our empirical analysis is based on a panel capturing patenting behavior of 2074 firms in 30 technology areas over 15 years. GMM estimation results confirm the predictions of our theoretical model. The results show that patent thickets exist in 9 out of 30 technology areas. We find that decreased technological opportunities are a surprisingly strong driver of patent thicket growth.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6900.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6900

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Keywords: complexity; patent portfolios; patent thickets; patenting; technological opportunities;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. David S. Abrams & Ufuk Akcigit & Jillian Popadak, 2013. "Patent Value and Citations: Creative Destruction or Strategic Disruption?," NBER Working Papers 19647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. NAGAOKA Sadao & NISHIMURA Yoichiro, 2014. "Complementarity, Fragmentation, and the Effects of Patent Thickets," Discussion papers 14001, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  3. Katharine Rockett, 2009. "Property Rights and Invention," Economics Discussion Papers 663, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  4. Dietmar Harhoff & Georg von Graevenitz & Stefan Wagner, 2012. "Conflict resolution, public goods and patent thickets," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-12-04 (R1), ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 25 Mar 2013.
  5. Doh-Shin Jeon & Yassine Lefouili, 2013. "Cross-Licensing and Competition," Working Papers 13-11, NET Institute.
  6. Erik Lehmann & Thorsten Braun & Sebastian Krispin, 2012. "Entrepreneurial human capital, complementary assets, and takeover probability," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(5), pages 589-608, October.
  7. Siebert, Ralph Bernd & Graevenitz, Georg von, 2010. "Licensing in the Patent Thicket - Timing and Benefits," MPRA Paper 24007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Grimpe, Christoph & Hussinger, Katrin, 2014. "Pre-empted patents, infringed patents and firms’ participation in markets for technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 543-554.
  9. Schwiebacher, Franz, 2013. "Does fragmented or heterogeneous IP ownership stifle investments in innovation?," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-096, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt & Susanne Prantl, 2013. "Patent Rights, Product Market Reforms, and Innovation," NBER Working Papers 18854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Sternitzke, Christian, 2013. "An exploratory analysis of patent fencing in pharmaceuticals: The case of PDE5 inhibitors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 542-551.
  12. Christian Le Bas & Julien Pénin, 2014. "Patents and innovation : Are the brakes broken, or how to restore patents’ dynamic efficiency ?," Working Papers of BETA 2014-02, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  13. David S. Abrams & Ufuk Akcigit & Jillian Popadak, 2013. "Patent Value and Citations: Creative Destruction or Strategic Disruption?," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-065, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  14. Schwiebacher, Franz, 2012. "Complementary assets, patent thickets and hold-up threats: Do transaction costs undermine investments in innovation?," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-015, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  15. Bronwyn H. Hall & Grid Thoma & Salvatore Torrisi, 2009. "Financial Patenting in Europe," NBER Working Papers 14714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Carsten Fink & Mosahid Khan & Hao Zhou, 2013. "Exploring the worldwide patent surge," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 12, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.

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