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Conflict Resolution, Public Goods and Patent Thickets

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  • Dietmar Harhoff
  • Georg von Graevenitz
  • Stefan Wagner

Abstract

Post-grant validity challenges at patent offices rely on the private initiative of third parties to correct mistakes made by patent offices. We hypothesize that incentives to bring post-grant validity challenges are reduced when many firms benefit from revocation of a patent and when firms are caught up in patent thickets. Using data on opposition against patents at the European Patent Office we show that opposition decreases in fields in which many others profit from patent revocations. Moreover, in fields with a large number of mutually blocking patents the incidence of opposition is sharply reduced, particularly among large firms and firms that are caught up directly in patent thickets. These findings indicate that post-grant patent review may not constitute an effective correction device for erroneous patent grants in technologies affected by either patent thickets or highly dispersed patent ownership.

Suggested Citation

  • Dietmar Harhoff & Georg von Graevenitz & Stefan Wagner, 2014. "Conflict Resolution, Public Goods and Patent Thickets," Working Papers 49, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:49
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    Cited by:

    1. Bronwyn H Hall, 2019. "Is there a role for patents in the financing of new innovative firms?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press and the Associazione ICC, vol. 28(3), pages 657-680.
    2. Wagner, Stefan & Sternitzke, Christian & Walter, Sascha, 2022. "Mapping Markush," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(10).
    3. Joachim Henkel & Hans Zischka, 2019. "How many patents are truly valid? Extent, causes, and remedies for latent patent invalidity," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 195-239, October.
    4. Dr Chiara Rosazza Bondibene, 2012. "A Study of Patent Thickets," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 401, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    5. Fabian Gaessler & Stefan Wagner, 2022. "Patents, Data Exclusivity, and the Development of New Drugs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 571-586, May.
    6. Wagner, Stefan & Wakeman, Simon, 2016. "What do patent-based measures tell us about product commercialization? Evidence from the pharmaceutical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 1091-1102.
    7. Fabian Gaessler & Dietmar Harhoff & Stefan Sorg & Georg von Graevenitz, 2024. "Patents, Freedom to Operate, and Follow-on Innovation: Evidence from Post-Grant Opposition," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 494, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    8. Benjamin Barber & Luis Diestre, 2022. "Can firms avoid tough patent examiners through examiner‐shopping? Strategic timing of citations in USPTO patent applications," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(9), pages 1854-1871, September.
    9. Dan Prud’homme & Tony W. Tong, 2024. "Rethinking firm-specific advantages from intellectual property rights: Boundary conditions for MNEs," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 55(1), pages 91-109, February.
    10. Harhoff, Dietmar & Gaessler, Fabian & Sorg, Stefan, 2019. "Bargaining Failure and Freedom to Operate: Re-evaluating the Effect of Patents on Cumulative Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 13969, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Kafouros, Mario & Aliyev, Murod & Krammer, Sorin M.S., 2021. "Do firms profit from patent litigation? The contingent roles of diversification and intangible assets," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(6).
    12. Arianna Martinelli & Julia Mazzei & Daniele Moschella, 2022. "Patent disputes as emerging barriers to technology entry? Empirical evidence from patent opposition," LEM Papers Series 2022/12, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    13. Torrisi, Salvatore & Gambardella, Alfonso & Giuri, Paola & Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin & Mariani, Myriam, 2016. "Used, blocking and sleeping patents: Empirical evidence from a large-scale inventor survey," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1374-1385.
    14. Schwiebacher, Franz, 2013. "Does fragmented or heterogeneous IP ownership stifle investments in innovation?," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-096, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    15. Gątkowski, Mateusz & Dietl, Marek & Skrok, Łukasz & Whalen, Ryan & Rockett, Katharine, 2020. "Semantically-based patent thicket identification," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(2).

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    JEL classification:

    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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