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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 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. However, our estimates of the heterogeneity in litigation risk can 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8656.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8656

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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, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley qt8bs830w9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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    Cited by:
    1. 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, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5680, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Padraig Dixon & Christine Greenhalgh, 2003. "The Economics of Intellectual Property: A Review to Identify Themes for Future Research," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000645, David K. Levine.
    3. 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.
    4. Hall, Bronwyn H., 2003. "Business Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley qt2n24f63d, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    5. Julien Pénin, 2003. "Patents versus ex-post rewards: a new look," Working Papers of BETA 2003-09, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    6. Patrick Cohendet & Matthieu Farcot & Julien Pénin, 2009. "Intellectual property in a knowledge-based economy : Patents to include vs. patents to exclude," Working Papers of BETA 2009-15, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

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