Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1429049
 
 

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High Technology Entrepreneurs and the Patent System: Results of the 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey


Stuart J. H. Graham


Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business; United States Patent and Trademark Office

Robert P. Merges


University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Pamela Samuelson


University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Ted M. Sichelman


University of San Diego School of Law

June 30, 2009

Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 255-327, 2009
CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper

Abstract:     
We offer description and analysis of the 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey, summarizing the responses of 1,332 U.S.-based technology startups in the biotechnology, medical device, IT hardware, software, and Internet sectors. We discover that holding patents is more widespread among technology startups than has been previously reported, but that the patterns and drivers of holding patents are industry and context specific. Surprisingly, startup executives report in general that patents are providing relatively weak incentives for core activities in the innovation process. Our analysis uncovers that the drivers of startup patenting are often associated with capturing competitive advantage, and the associated goals of preventing technology copying, securing financing, and enhancing reputation - although again these and other motives depend on firm and industry factors. We also find substantial differences in the roles played by patents for startups in the biotechnology and medical device sectors - where patents are more commonly used and considered important - as compared to those operating in the software and Internet fields - where they are less useful. Interestingly, venture-backed IT hardware startups tend to resemble those in health-related fields in terms of their use of and motives for patenting. We generally find a wide disparity between the patenting behavior of venture-backed technology startups and those that are not funded with venture capital. We also discover that, when choosing not to patent major innovations, startups often cite to cost considerations, although again the motives to forgo patenting differ according to firm and industry characteristics. The respondents to our survey also generally report that checking the patent literature and licensing patents from others is reasonably common, although there too results differ according to the context. Other findings are discussed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 74

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Patents, Innovation, Intellectual Property

JEL Classification: L26, O31, O32, O34, O38

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Date posted: July 4, 2009 ; Last revised: August 9, 2014

Suggested Citation

Graham, Stuart J. H. and Merges, Robert P. and Samuelson, Pamela and Sichelman, Ted M., High Technology Entrepreneurs and the Patent System: Results of the 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey (June 30, 2009). Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 255-327, 2009; CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1429049 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1429049

Contact Information

Stuart J.H. Graham (Contact Author)
Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )
800 W. Peachtree Str. NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States
404-385-5107 (Phone)
404-894-6030 (Fax)
United States Patent and Trademark Office ( email )
600 Dulany Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.uspto.gov
Robert P. Merges
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )
215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
510-643-6199 (Phone)
510-643-6171 (Fax)
Pamela Samuelson
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )
Boalt Hall
341 North Addition
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
(510) 642-6775 (Phone)
(510) 643-2673 (Fax)
Ted M. Sichelman
University of San Diego School of Law ( email )
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
(619) 260-7512 (Phone)
(619) 260-2748 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.sandiego.edu/law/academics/faculty/bio.php?id=795
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