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The Economic Value of Patent Portfolios

  • Gambardella, Alfonso
  • Harhoff, Dietmar
  • Verspagen, Bart

Patent holders may choose to protect innovations with single patents or to develop portfolios of multiple, related inventions. We propose a simple decision-making model in which patent-holders may allocate resources to either expanding the number of related patents or investing in higher value of patents in the portfolio. We estimate the derived value equation using portfolio value data from an inventor survey. We find that investments in individual inventions exhibit diminishing returns, and that much of the value of a portfolio depends on adding new inventions. These effects are less pronounced in high-techology industries, when the inventions rely on external information, and when the inventor holds a doctorate. We also find higher returns to an increase of the number of inventions when firms perceive patent protection to be strong. Thus, a higher number of inventions in a portfolio may reflect both genuine creation of value or stronger appropriability via patents.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9264.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9264
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  1. Graevenitz, Georg von & Wagner, Stefan & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2011. "Incidence and Growth of Patent Thickets - The Impact of Technological Opportunities and Complexity," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 356, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Rosemarie Ham Ziedonis, 2004. "Don't Fence Me In: Fragmented Markets for Technology and the Patent Acquisition Strategies of Firms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 804-820, June.
  3. Carlos J. Serrano, 2006. "The Dynamics of the Transfer and Renewal of Patents," Working Papers tecipa-227, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. Harhoff, Dietmar & Scherer, Frederic M. & Vopel, Katrin, 2003. "Citations, family size, opposition and the value of patent rights," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1343-1363, September.
  5. Bessen, James, 2009. "Estimates of patent rents from firm market value," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1604-1616, December.
  6. Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2005. "Market Value and Patent Citations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 16-38, Spring.
  7. Manuel Trajtenberg, 1990. "A Penny for Your Quotes: Patent Citations and the Value of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 172-187, Spring.
  8. Giuri, Paola & Mariani, Myriam & Brusoni, Stefano & Crespi, Gustavo & Francoz, Dominique & Gambardella, Alfonso & Garcia-Fontes, Walter & Geuna, Aldo & Gonzales, Raul & Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin, 2007. "Inventors and invention processes in Europe: Results from the PatVal-EU survey," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1107-1127, October.
  9. Maria Pluvia Zuniga & Dominique Guellec, 2009. "Who Licenses out Patents and Why?: Lessons from a Business Survey," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2009/5, OECD Publishing.
  10. Bessen, James, 2008. "The value of U.S. patents by owner and patent characteristics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 932-945, June.
  11. Arora, Ashish & Ceccagnoli, Marco & Cohen, Wesley M., 2008. "R&D and the patent premium," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1153-1179, September.
  12. Hausman, Jerry & Hall, Bronwyn H & Griliches, Zvi, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 909-38, July.
  13. Graevenitz, Georg von & Wagner, Stefan & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2009. "How to measure patent thickets – a novel approach," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 10962, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
  14. Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not)," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
  15. Dietmar Harhoff & Francis Narin & F. M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1999. "Citation Frequency And The Value Of Patented Inventions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 511-515, August.
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