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Conflict Resolution, Public Goods and Patent Thickets

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

Abstract

Post-grant validity challenges at patent offices rely on the private initiative of third parties to correct mistakes made by patent offices. We hypothesize that incentives to bring post-grant validity challenges are reduced when many firms benefit from revocation of a patent and when firms are caught up in patent thickets. Using data on opposition against patents at the European Patent Office we show that opposition decreases in fields in which many others profit from patent revocations. Moreover, in fields with a large number of mutually blocking patents the incidence of opposition is sharply reduced, particularly among large firms and firms that are caught up directly in patent thickets. These findings indicate that post-grant patent review may not constitute an effective correction device for erroneous patent grants in technologies affected by either patent thickets or highly dispersed patent ownership.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9468.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9468

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Keywords: intellectual property; opposition; patent litigation; patent thickets; patents; post-grant review;

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  1. Georg Graevenitz & Stefan Wagner & Dietmar Harhoff, 2013. "Incidence and Growth of Patent Thickets: The Impact of Technological Opportunities and Complexity," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 521-563, 09.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.

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