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Bargaining Failure and Freedom to Operate: Re-evaluating the Effect of Patents on Cumulative Innovation

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  • Gaessler, Fabian
  • Harhoff, Dietmar
  • Sorg, Stefan

Abstract

We investigate the causal effect of patent rights on cumulative innovation, using large-scale data that approximate the patent universe in its technological and economic variety. We introduce a novel instrumental variable for patent invalidation that exploits personnel scarcity in post-grant opposition at the European Patent Ofï¬ ce. We ï¬ nd that patent invalidation leads to a highly signiï¬ cant and sizeable increase of follow-on inventions. The effect is driven by cases where the removal of the individual exclusion right creates substantial freedom to operate for third parties. Importantly, our results suggest that bargaining failure between original and follow-on innovators is not limited to environments commonly associated with high transaction costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Gaessler, Fabian & Harhoff, Dietmar & 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13969
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    bargaining failure; Cumulative innovation; freedom to operate; opposition; patents;

    JEL classification:

    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • 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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