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The structure and the evolution of essential patents for standards: Lessons from three IT standards


  • Nagaoka, Sadao
  • Shimbo, Tomoyuki
  • Tsukada, Naotoshi


This paper examines the structure and the evolution of the patents declared as essential for three major technical standards in information technology (MPEG2, DVD and W-CDMA). These standards have many essential patents, which are owned by many firms with different interests. Many patents have been applied even after the standard was set. We analyze three important reasons for why the essential patents are many and increase over time: they cover a number of different technology fields, there exist R&D competition even in a narrowly defined technology field and a firm can expand its patent portfolio by using continuations and other practices based on the priority dates of its earlier filed patent applications in the USA. Around 40% of the essential US patents for MPEG2 and DVD standards have been obtained by using these applications. However, our empirical analysis suggests that a firm with pioneering patents does not obtain more essential patents, using these practices.

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  • Nagaoka, Sadao & Shimbo, Tomoyuki & Tsukada, Naotoshi, 2006. "The structure and the evolution of essential patents for standards: Lessons from three IT standards," IIR Working Paper 06-08, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:iirwps:06-08

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    Cited by:

    1. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2015. "Standard-Essential Patents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(3), pages 547-586.
    2. TSUKADA Naotoshi & NAGAOKA Sadao, 2011. "Standards as a Knowledge Source for R&D: A first look at their incidence and impacts based on the inventor survey and patent bibliographic data," Discussion papers 11018, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. SHIMBO Tomoyuki & NAGAOKA Sadao & TSUKADA Naotoshi, 2015. "Dynamic Effects of Patent Pools: Evidence from inter-generational competition in optical disk industry," Discussion papers 15132, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

    More about this item


    standard; essential patent; continuations;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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