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Strategic patenting and software innovation

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  • Noel, Michael
  • Schankerman, Mark

Abstract

Strategic patenting is widely believed to raise the costs of innovating, especially in industries characterised by cumulative innovation. This paper studies the effects of strategic patenting on R&D, patenting and market value in the computer software industry. We focus on two key aspects: patent portfolio size, which affects bargaining power in patent disputes, and the fragmentation of patent rights (‘patent thickets’) which increases the transaction costs of enforcement. We develop a model that incorporates both effects, as well as knowledge spill overs. Using panel data for 121 firms covering the period 1980–99, we show that strategic patenting and spill overs affect innovation and market value of software firms, that there is a patent premium accounting for 20 per cent of the returns to R&D, and that software firms do not appear to be trapped in a prisoners' dilemma of ‘excessive patenting.

Suggested Citation

  • Noel, Michael & Schankerman, Mark, 2013. "Strategic patenting and software innovation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57372, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:57372
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