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Pioneers, Submariners, or Thicket-builders: Which Firms Use Continuations in Patenting?

Author

Listed:
  • Deepak Hegde
  • David C. Mowery
  • Stuart Graham

Abstract

The continuations procedure within the U.S. patent system has been criticized for enabling firms to manipulate the patent review process for strategic purposes. Changes during the 1990s in patent procedures affected the incentives of applicants to exploit the continuations process, and additional reforms in continuations currently are being considered. Nonetheless, little is known about applicants' use of the three major types of continuations -- the Continuation Application (CAP), the Continuations-In-Part (CIP), and Divisions -- to alter the term and scope of patents. This paper analyzes patents issued from the three types of continuations to U.S. firms during 1981 - 2004 (with priority years 1981 - 2000), and links their frequency to the characteristics of patents, assignees and industries. We find that CIPs are disproportionately filed by R&D-intensive, small firms that patent heavily, and are more common in chemical and biological technologies. Patents resulting from CIP filings contain more claims and backward citations per patent on average, and cover relatively "valuable" inventions. In contrast, CAPs cover less valuable patents from large, capital-intensive firms that patent intensively, particularly in computer and semiconductor patents. We also analyze the effects of the 1995 change in patent term on continuation applications and find that the Act reduced the use of continuations overall, while shifting the output of CAPs toward "less important" patents.

Suggested Citation

  • Deepak Hegde & David C. Mowery & Stuart Graham, 2007. "Pioneers, Submariners, or Thicket-builders: Which Firms Use Continuations in Patenting?," NBER Working Papers 13153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13153
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
    2. Nancy T. Gallini, 2002. "The Economics of Patents: Lessons from Recent U.S. Patent Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 131-154, Spring.
    3. Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2004. "Patent Quality and Research Productivity: Measuring Innovation with Multiple Indicators," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 441-465, April.
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    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carl Shapiro, 2008. "Patent Reform: Aligning Reward and Contribution," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 8, pages 111-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:spr:scient:v:89:y:2011:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-011-0473-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Rudi Bekkers & Arianna Martinelli & Federico Tamagni, 2016. "The causal effect of including standards-related documentation into patent prior art: evidence from a recent EPO policy change," LEM Papers Series 2016/11, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    4. David Encaoua & Thierry Madiès, 2012. "Dysfunctions of the patent system and their effects on competition," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00740716, HAL.
    5. Rudi Bekkers & Arianna Martinelli, 2010. "The interplay between standardization and technological change: A study on wireless technologies, technological trajectories, and essential patent claims," Working Papers 10-08, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies, revised Sep 2010.
    6. Rockett, Katharine, 2010. "Property Rights and Invention," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    7. Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2009. "Filing strategies and the increasing duration of patent applications," Working Papers CEB 09-005.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. David Encaoua & Thierry Madiès, 2012. "Dysfunctions of the patent system and their effects on competition," Working Papers halshs-00740716, HAL.
    9. Bekkers, Rudi & Bongard, René & Nuvolari, Alessandro, 2011. "An empirical study on the determinants of essential patent claims in compatibility standards," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 1001-1015, September.
    10. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00848247 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2009. "From patent renewals to applications survival: do portfolio management strategies play a role in patent length?," Working Papers CEB 09-028.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. Nagaoka, Sadao & Motohashi, Kazuyuki & Goto, Akira, 2010. "Patent Statistics as an Innovation Indicator," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    13. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00848247 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • 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
    • 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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