Corporate Science in the Patent System: An Analysis of the Semiconductor Technology

Posted: 8 Dec 2010 Last revised: 7 Sep 2014

See all articles by Antonio Della Malva

Antonio Della Malva

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB)

Katrin Hussinger

Universite du Luxembourg; Catholic University of Leuven (KUL); Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW)

Date Written: December 7, 2010

Abstract

Corporate scientific publications are often presented as a strategic means for firms to create prior art with the objective to prevent others from patenting related inventions. This presumes that corporate publications enter the pool of prior art which is relevant to judge the novelty of patent applications at the patent office and that corporate science has the power to block patent applications. This paper analyses for the first time whether the presumed mechanism behind corporate publications as a means to preempt patents works. With focus on the semiconductor technology our results show that scientific publications by corporations challenge the novelty of patent applications at the European Patent Office (EPO) significantly more than other pieces of prior art. Detailed information from the EPO patent examination procedure allows us to show that corporate publications threaten the novelty of patent applications if combined with other pieces of prior art like patents (rather than as stand-alone documents). This supports the view that corporate scientific publishing can be an effective means for firms to protect their freedom to operate if used as a complementary part of a firms’ overall IP protection strategy as proposed by scholars in the field of law and management science.

Keywords: defensive corporate publishing, freedom to operate, patents, semiconductor

JEL Classification: O34, O32

Suggested Citation

Della Malva, Antonio and Hussinger, Katrin, Corporate Science in the Patent System: An Analysis of the Semiconductor Technology (December 7, 2010). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 84(1), 118-135. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1721936 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1721936

Antonio Della Malva

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB) ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Katrin Hussinger (Contact Author)

Universite du Luxembourg ( email )

L-1511 Luxembourg
Luxembourg

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) ( email )

Steunpunt O&O Statistieken
Dekenstraat 2
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium

Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034
Germany

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