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Technology Entry in the Presence of Patent Thickets


  • Bronwyn H. Hall
  • Christian Helmers
  • Georg von Graevenitz


We analyze the effect of patent thickets on entry into technology areas by firms in the UK. We present a model that describes incentives to enter technology areas characterized by varying technological opportunity, complexity of technology, and the potential for hold?up in patent thickets. We show empirically that our measure of patent thickets is associated with a reduction of first time patenting in a given technology area controlling for the level of technological complexity and opportunity. Technological areas characterized by more technological complexity and opportunity, in contrast, see more entry. Our evidence indicates that patent thickets raise entry costs, which leads to less entry into technologies regardless of a firm?s size.

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  • Bronwyn H. Hall & Christian Helmers & Georg von Graevenitz, 2015. "Technology Entry in the Presence of Patent Thickets," Working Papers 60, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:60

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Georg Graevenitz & Stefan Wagner & Dietmar Harhoff, 2013. "Incidence and Growth of Patent Thickets: The Impact of Technological Opportunities and Complexity," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 521-563, September.
    2. Christian Helmers & Mark RogersPhilipp Schautschick, 2011. "Intellectual Property at the Firm-Level in the UK: The Oxford Firm-Level Intellectual Property Database," Economics Series Working Papers 546, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Hussingera, Katrin & Issahd, Wunnam, 2022. "Trade secret protection and R&D investment of family firms," ZEW Discussion Papers 22-039, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. Ufuk Akcigit & Sina T. Ates, 2021. "Ten Facts on Declining Business Dynamism and Lessons from Endogenous Growth Theory," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 257-298, January.
    4. Coad, Alex & Kaiser, Ulrich & Kuhn, Johan, 2021. "Spin doctors vs the spawn of capitalism: Who founds university and corporate startups?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(10).
    5. NAGAOKA Sadao & NISHIMURA Yoichiro, 2014. "Complementarity, Fragmentation, and the Effects of Patent Thickets," Discussion papers 14001, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    6. Ben Vermeulen & Andreas Pyka, 2018. "The Role of Network Topology and the Spatial Distribution and Structure of Knowledge in Regional Innovation Policy: A Calibrated Agent-Based Model Study," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 52(3), pages 773-808, October.
    7. Katrin Hussinger & Wunnam Basit Issah, 2022. "Trade Secret Protection and R&D Investment of Family Firms," DEM Discussion Paper Series 22-11, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
    8. Dietl, M & Skrok & Benalcazar, P & Gątkowski, M & Rockett, K, 2017. "Pendency and Thickets," Economics Discussion Papers 19979, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    9. 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.
    10. Oliver Kovacs, 2019. "Big IFs in Productivity-Enhancing Industry 4.0," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 8(2), pages 1-17, January.
    11. Gaetan de Rassenfosse & Paul Jensen & T'Mir Julius & Alfons Palangkaraya & Elizabeth Webster, 2021. "Is the patent system a level playing field? The effect of patent attorney firms," Working Papers 15, Chair of Innovation and IP Policy.
    12. Mukund Chari & H. Kevin Steensma & Charles Connaughton & Ralph Heidl, 2022. "The influence of patent assertion entities on inventor behavior," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(8), pages 1666-1690, August.

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    More about this item


    Patenting; Entry; Patent Thickets;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • 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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