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Disclosure as a Strategy in the Patent Race

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  • Baker, Scott
  • Mezzetti, Claudio

Abstract

Research firms disclose a surprisingly large amount of information to the patent office through "targeted" disclosures, that is, disclosures intended to make the patent office aware of potentially patentable information. Conventional wisdom holds that these disclosures are made for defensive purposes; the disclosing firm does not itself plan to pursue patents related to the disclosed information, so the firm discloses to create prior art that might stop rivals from patenting. But firms have an incentive to disclose even if they intend to pursue patent protection. The reason is that, by making it more difficult to patent, disclosure extends the patent race. If an invention of a certain quality would have been sufficient to qualify for patent protection before the disclosure, after the disclosure any invention must be that much better before it will represent a sufficient advance over the now-expanded prior art. This paper models disclosure strategies of this sort.

Suggested Citation

  • Baker, Scott & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2005. "Disclosure as a Strategy in the Patent Race," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 173-194, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2005:v:48:i:1:p:173-94
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/426879
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sudipto Bhattacharya & Jay R. Ritter, 1983. "Innovation and Communication: Signalling with Partial Disclosure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(2), pages 331-346.
    2. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1993. "Strategic spillovers in patent races," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 139-146, March.
    3. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2003. "Patents, Invalidity, and the Strategic Transmission of Enabling Information," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 151-178, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kang, Byeongwoo, 2015. "The innovation process of Huawei and ZTE: Patent data analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 378-393.
    2. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2008. "Intellectual property rights and efficient firm organization," Economics Working Papers 1254, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2014.
    3. repec:eee:tefoso:v:123:y:2017:i:c:p:181-190 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Gans, Joshua S. & Murray, Fiona E. & Stern, Scott, 2017. "Contracting over the disclosure of scientific knowledge: Intellectual property and academic publication," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 820-835.
    5. Malva, Antonio Della & Hussinger, Katrin, 2012. "Corporate science in the patent system: An analysis of the semiconductor technology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 118-135.
    6. Matthias Dahm & Nicolás Porteiro, 2008. "Informational lobbying under the shadow of political pressure," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 30(4), pages 531-559, May.
    7. Haeussler, Carolin & Jiang, Lin & Thursby, Jerry & Thursby, Marie, 2014. "Specific and general information sharing among competing academic researchers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 465-475.
    8. Bronwyn Hall & Christian Helmers & Mark Rogers & Vania Sena, 2014. "The Choice between Formal and Informal Intellectual Property: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(2), pages 375-423, June.
    9. Scott Baker & Pak Yee Lee & Claudio Mezzetti, 2011. "Intellectual property disclosure as threat," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 7(1), pages 21-38, March.
    10. Rockett, Katharine, 2010. "Property Rights and Invention," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    11. Joachim Henkel & Stefanie Pangerl, 2008. "Defensive Publishing An Empirical Study," DRUID Working Papers 08-04, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    12. José Fernández Donoso & Fernando Hernández, 2017. "International protection of intellectual property rights: a stochastic frontier index," Serie Working Papers 41, Universidad del Desarrollo, School of Business and Economics.
    13. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9489-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Chatterjee, Rittwik & Chattopadhyay, Srobonti & Kabiraj, Tarun, 2017. "Spillover and R&D Incentives under Incomplete Information in a Duopoly Industry," MPRA Paper 81371, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Chatterjee, Rittwik & Chattopadhyay, Srobonti & Kabiraj, Tarun, 2018. "Spillovers and R&D Incentive under Incomplete Information," MPRA Paper 85089, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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