Conflict Resolution, Public Goods and Patent Thickets

36 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2012 Last revised: 21 May 2013

See all articles by Dietmar Harhoff

Dietmar Harhoff

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Georg von Graevenitz

Queen Mary, School of Business and Management; Center for Competition Policy; University of Glasgow - CREATe, RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy

Stefan Wagner

ESMT European School of Management and Technology

Date Written: March 25, 2013

Abstract

Post-grant validity challenges at patent offices rely on the private initiative of third parties to correct mistakes made by patent offices. We hypothesize that incentives to bring post-grant validity challenges are reduced when many firms benefit from revocation of a patent and when firms are caught up in patent thickets. Using data on opposition against patents at the European Patent Office we show that opposition decreases in fields in which many others profit from patent revocations. Moreover, in fields with a large number of mutually blocking patents the incidence of opposition is sharply reduced, particularly among large firms and firms that are caught up directly in patent thickets. These findings indicate that post-grant patent review may not constitute an effective correction device for erroneous patent grants in technologies affected by either patent thickets or highly dispersed patent ownership.

Keywords: intellectual property, opposition, patent litigation, patent thickets, patents, post-grant review

JEL Classification: K11, K41, O34

Suggested Citation

Harhoff, Dietmar and von Graevenitz, Georg and Wagner, Stefan, Conflict Resolution, Public Goods and Patent Thickets (March 25, 2013). ESMT Working Paper No. 12-04 (R1). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2145590 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2145590

Dietmar Harhoff (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany
+49 89 24246 550 (Phone)
+49 89 24246 599 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ip.mpg.de

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München ( email )

Munich, 80539
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Georg Von Graevenitz

Queen Mary, School of Business and Management ( email )

Mile End
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Center for Competition Policy ( email )

UEA
Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR47TJ
United Kingdom

University of Glasgow - CREATe, RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy ( email )

10 The Square, Glasgow University
Glasgow, G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

Stefan Wagner

ESMT European School of Management and Technology ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
10117 Berlin
Germany

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