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Submarines in software? continuations in US software patenting in the 1980s and 1990s

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  • Stuart Graham
  • David Mowrey

Abstract

This article examines the role of 'continuations' (procedural revisions of patent applications) in software patents and overall patenting in the United States during 1987-1999. The research represents the first effort of which we are aware to analyze data on continuations in software or any other patent class, providing information on the effects of 1995 changes in the US patent law intended to curb 'submarine patenting'. The analysis of all US patents shows that the use of continuations grew steadily during 1987-1995, with particularly rapid growth in software patenting. Sharp reversals in these growth rates after 1995 suggest that changes in the US patent law were effective. Prior to the 1995 changes in the patent law, continuation applications were used more intensively by large packaged-software firms than by other patentees, and both software and non-software patents subject to continuation tend to experience longer examination delays and to be more valuable.

Suggested Citation

  • Stuart Graham & David Mowrey, 2004. "Submarines in software? continuations in US software patenting in the 1980s and 1990s," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(5), pages 443-456.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:13:y:2004:i:5:p:443-456
    DOI: 10.1080/1043859042000188700
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ben-David, Dan, 1998. "Convergence clubs and subsistence economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 155-171, February.
    2. Stuart J. H. Graham & Bronwyn H. Hall & Dietmar Harhoff & David C. Mowery, 2002. "Post-Issue Patent "Quality Control": A Comparative Study of US Patent Re-examinations and European Patent Oppositions," NBER Working Papers 8807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hall, B. & Jaffe, A. & Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," Papers 2001-29, Tel Aviv.
    4. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Jaffee, Adam & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2000. "Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1rh8k6z2, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    5. Jean Lanjouw & Josh Lerner, 1998. "The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: A Survey of the Empirical Literature," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 49-50, pages 223-246.
    6. 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.
    7. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Comino & ?Fabio Manenti & ?Antonio Nicol•, 2007. "Sequential innovations with unobservable follow-on investments," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0041, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    2. Carl Shapiro, 2008. "Patent Reform: Aligning Reward and Contribution," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 8, pages 111-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:4:p:796-804 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Rentocchini, Francesco, 2011. "Sources and characteristics of software patents in the European Union: Some empirical considerations," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 141-157, March.
    5. Iacopetta, Maurizio, 2011. "Formal education and public knowledge," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 676-693, May.
    6. Deepak Hegde & David C. Mowery & Stuart J. H. Graham, 2009. "Pioneering Inventors or Thicket Builders: Which U.S. Firms Use Continuations in Patenting?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(7), pages 1214-1226, July.
    7. Dahlin, Kristina B. & Behrens, Dean M., 2005. "When is an invention really radical?: Defining and measuring technological radicalness," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 717-737, June.
    8. Basant, Rakesh, 2010. "Intellectual Property Protection, Regulation and Innovation in Developing Economies - The Case of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry," IIMA Working Papers WP2010-11-02, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    9. Jeon, Haejun, 2015. "Patent infringement, litigation, and settlement," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 99-111.
    10. Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2009. "From patent renewals to applications survival: do portfolio management strategies play a role in patent length?," Working Papers CEB 09-028.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Simon Wakeman, 2012. "How does obtaining intellectual property rights impact technology commercialization strategy for start-up innovators? Reconciling the effects on licensing vs. financing," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-12-03 (R1), ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 11 Jul 2012.

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