Patent Trolls and Technology Diffusion

37 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2012 Last revised: 27 Mar 2013

See all articles by Catherine E. Tucker

Catherine E. Tucker

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Management Science (MS)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 23, 2013


Patent assertion entities, sometimes known as 'patent trolls,' do not manufacture goods themselves but profit from licensing agreements that they often enforce via the threat of litigation. This paper explores empirically how litigation by one such patent troll affected the sales of medical imaging technology. It finds evidence that relative to similar products, made by the same firm, but not covered by the patent, imaging software sales declined by one-third. This was not due to a suppression in demand by hospitals but instead is linked to a lack of incremental product innovation during the period of litigation.

Keywords: Patents, Hospital IT, Economics of Intellectual Property

JEL Classification: K0, O3

Suggested Citation

Tucker, Catherine E., Patent Trolls and Technology Diffusion (March 23, 2013). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2012-030. Available at SSRN: or

Catherine E. Tucker (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Management Science (MS) ( email )

100 Main St
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States


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