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Sleeping patents: any reason to wake up?

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  • Palomeras, Neus

    ()
    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

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    Abstract

    Patents are typically characterized as very valuable assets for firms. Nevertheless, there are many patents in a firm's portfolio that are actually never used. In this paper, we claim that there is a relationship between a firm's decision to use or not to use a patent and the characteristics of the underlying invention. We characterize patent use according to the sleeping or non-sleeping character of the patents in the firm's portfolio. We characterize the underlying invention along different dimensions captured by the patent, i.e. importance, strategic fit, scope and innovativeness. We perform an empirical analysis on a set of patent-active firms in the chemicals industry that trade some of their patents through what is currently the only website specialized in firm technology transfer through the Internet, yet2.com. We use The NBER Patent Citations Data File to obtain information about the patents granted to these firms. Our results suggest that sleeping patents are more innovative, broader and no less important than their counterparts. We conclude that such patents are worth waking up, especially when the underlying invention is applicable to business areas far away from the patentholder's strategic core. These results suggest that there is potential for markets for technology to develop.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by IESE Business School in its series IESE Research Papers with number D/506.

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    Length: 25 pages
    Date of creation: 23 Apr 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0506

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    Postal: IESE Business School, Av Pearson 21, 08034 Barcelona, SPAIN
    Web page: http://www.iese.edu/
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    Related research

    Keywords: Patents; innovativeness;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    1. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Michael S. Fogarty, 2000. "The Meaning of Patent Citations: Report on the NBER/Case-Western Reserve Survey of Patentees," NBER Working Papers 7631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Steven Klepper & Sally Sleeper, 2005. "Entry by Spinoffs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(8), pages 1291-1306, August.
    3. Bronwyn Hall & Adam Jaffe and Manuel Trajenberg, 2000. "Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look," Economics Series Working Papers 2000-W17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Cassiman, Bruno & Ueda, Masako, 2002. "Optimal Project Rejection and New Firm Start-Ups," CEPR Discussion Papers 3429, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Harhoff, Dietmar & Reitzig, Markus, 2004. "Determinants of opposition against EPO patent grants--the case of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 443-480, April.
    6. Hall, Bronwyn H & Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," CEPR Discussion Papers 3094, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Ashish Arora, 1996. "Patents, Licensing, And Market Structure In The Chemical Industry," Industrial Organization 9605003, EconWPA.
    8. Teece, David J., 1993. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 112-113, April.
    9. Dietmar Harhoff & Francis Narin & F. M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1999. "Citation Frequency And The Value Of Patented Inventions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 511-515, August.
    10. Takalo, Tuomas & Kanniainen, Vesa, 2000. "Do patents slow down technological progress?: Real options in research, patenting, and market introduction," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 1105-1127, October.
    11. Ashish Arora & Andréa Fosfuri, 2000. "The Market for Technology in the Chemical Industry : Causes and Consequences," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 92(1), pages 317-334.
    12. Hopenhayn, H.A. & Mitchell, M.F., 1999. "Innovation Fertility and Patent Design," Papers 303, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
    13. Edward Kutsoati & Jan Zabojnik, 2001. "Durable Goods Monopoly, Learning-by-doing and "Sleeping Patents"," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0105, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    14. Arora, Ashish & Fosfuri, Andrea & Gambardella, Alfonso, 2001. "Markets for Technology and Their Implications for Corporate Strategy," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 419-51, June.
    15. Gilbert, Richard J & Newbery, David M G, 1982. "Preemptive Patenting and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 514-26, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin, 2006. "Everything you Always Wanted to Know About Inventors (But Never Asked): Evidence from the PatVal-EU Survey," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 1261, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
    2. Nicolas van Zeebroeck & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2011. "Filing strategies and patent value," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/60731, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Chi Leung & Yue Kwok, 2011. "Real options game analysis of sleeping patents," Decisions in Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 41-65, May.
    4. Alfonso Gambardella & Paola Giuri & Alessandra Luzzi, 2006. "The Market for Patents in Europe," LEM Papers Series 2006/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    5. Barberá-Tomás, David & Jiménez-Sáez, Fernando & Castelló-Molina, Itziar, 2011. "Mapping the importance of the real world: The validity of connectivity analysis of patent citations networks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 473-486, April.

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