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The Option Value of Patent Litigation: Theory and Evidence

In this paper I present a real options model of patent litigation when patents are not perfectly enforceable. I consider both finite horizon and infinite horizon models. The theoretical results demonstrate that patent value depends not only on the underlying technology, but also on the degree of uncertainty over the property right. Additionally, uncertain property rights create an effective patent term that is less than the statutory term. Using simulation methods and patent data, I estimate the hazard rate of patent litigation. I find that, contrary to previous results, the most valuable patents are not the primary candidates for litigation.

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File URL: http://irving.vassar.edu/VCEWP/VCEWP52.pdf
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Paper provided by Vassar College Department of Economics in its series Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series with number 52.

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Date of creation: Nov 2001
Date of revision: Dec 2003
Handle: RePEc:vas:papers:52
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Web page: http://irving.vassar.edu/VCEWP/VCEWP.htm

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  1. Reiss, Ariane, 1998. "Investment in Innovations and Competition: An Option Pricing Approach," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(3, Part 2), pages 635-650.
  2. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Jaffee, Adam & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2000. "Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1rh8k6z2, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. 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.
  4. Marco Alan C., 2004. "The Selection Effects (and Lack Thereof) in Patent Litigation: Evidence from Trials," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-47, September.
  5. Lerner, Josh, 1995. "Patenting in the Shadow of Competitors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 463-95, October.
  6. Waldfogel, Joel, 1995. "The Selection Hypothesis and the Relationship between Trial and Plaintiff Victory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 229-60, April.
  7. Lanjouw, Jean O & Schankerman, Mark, 2001. "Characteristics of Patent Litigation: A Window on Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 129-51, Spring.
  8. Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," CEPR Discussion Papers 392, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Weeds, Helen, 2002. "Strategic Delay in a Real Options Model of R&D Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 729-47, July.
  10. Cornell, Bradford, 1990. "The Incentive to Sue: An Option-Pricing Approach," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 173-87, January.
  11. Jean Olson Lanjouw, 1994. "Economic Consequences of a Changing Litigation Environment: The Case of Patents," NBER Working Papers 4835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Joshua Lerner, 1994. "The Importance of Patent Scope: An Empirical Analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 319-333, Summer.
  13. Takalo, Tuomas & Kanniainen, Vesa, 2000. "Do patents slow down technological progress?: Real options in research, patenting, and market introduction," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 1105-1127, October.
  14. Michael J. Meurer, 1989. "The Settlement of Patent Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(1), pages 77-91, Spring.
  15. George L. Priest & Benjamin Klein, 1984. "The Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-56, January.
  16. Pakes, Ariel, 1985. "On Patents, R&D, and the Stock Market Rate of Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 390-409, April.
  17. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2002. "Patents, Real Options and Firm Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C97-C116, March.
  18. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 5474, April.
  19. Ariel Pakes, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," NBER Working Papers 1340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
  21. Hall, Bronwyn H & Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," CEPR Discussion Papers 3094, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A. & Rubinstein, Mark, 1979. "Option pricing: A simplified approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 229-263, September.
  23. 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 1067-97, September.
  24. Richard Gilbert and Carl Shapiro., 1989. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," Economics Working Papers 89-102, University of California at Berkeley.
  25. Schweizer, Urs, 1989. "Litigation and Settlement under Two-Sided Incomplete Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 163-77, April.
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