Patent Thickets and the Market for Innovation:Evidence from Settlement of Patent Disputes
We study how fragmentation of patent rights ('patent thickets') and the formation of theCourt of Appeal for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affected the duration of patent disputes, andthus the speed of technology diffusion through licensing. We develop a model of patentlitigation which predicts faster settlement agreements when patent rights are fragmented andwhen there is less uncertainty about court outcomes, as was associated with the 'pro-patentshift' of CAFC. The model also predicts that the impact of fragmentation on settlementduration should be smaller under CAFC. We confirm these predictions empirically using adataset that covers nearly all patent suits in U.S. federal district courts during the period1975-2000. Finally, we analyze how fragmentation affects total settlement delay, taking intoaccount both reduction in duration per dispute and the increase in the number of requiredpatent negotiations associated with patent thickets.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2008|
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