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Patent Suits: Do They Distort Research Incentives?

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  • Lanjouw, Jenny
  • Schankerman, Mark

Abstract

This paper shows that the process of enforcing patent rights both dilutes and distorts Research and Development (R&D) incentives. We examine the characteristics of litigated patents by combining, for the first time, information about patent case filings from the US district courts with detailed data from the US Patent and Trademark Office. By comparing filed cases to a random sample of US patents from the same cohorts and technology areas, we show that case filings are much more common in some technology areas than in others, and also when (i) innovations are more valuable, (ii) they appear to form the basis of a sequence of technologically-linked innovations held by the patentee, (iii) there is domestic ownership, and (iv) they are owned by individuals, except in cases where others are active in the same technology area making reputation important. We use this empirical evidence to examine hypotheses about the determinants of patent suits.

Suggested Citation

  • Lanjouw, Jenny & Schankerman, Mark, 1998. "Patent Suits: Do They Distort Research Incentives?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2042, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2042
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
    2. Cooter, Robert D & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1989. "Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1067-1097, September.
    3. Jean Olson Lanjouw, 1998. "Patent Protection in the Shadow of Infringement: Simulation Estimations of Patent Value," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 671-710.
    4. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:20:y:1989:i:1989-3:p:331-410 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jean O. Lanjouw & Josh Lerner, 1996. "Preliminary Injunctive Relief: Theory and Evidence from Patent Litigation," NBER Working Papers 5689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Waterson, Michael, 1990. "The Economics of Product Patents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 860-869, September.
    7. Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 1997. "Stylized Facts of Patent Litigation: Value, Scope and Ownership," NBER Working Papers 6297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Fournier, Gary M & Zuehlke, Thomas W, 1989. "Litigation and Settlement: An Empirical Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 189-195, May.
    9. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:15-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gamba, Simona, 2017. "The Effect of Intellectual Property Rights on Domestic Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 15-27.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Litigation; Patents; R&D incentives;

    JEL classification:

    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • 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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