Do Patent Licensing Demands Mean Innovation?
University of California Hastings College of the Law
Mark A. Lemley
Stanford Law School
February 15, 2015
Iowa Law Review, Vol. 101, 2015
Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 473
Stanford Public Law Working Paper No. 2565292
UC Hastings Research Paper No. 135
A commonly offered justification for patent trolls or non-practicing entities (NPEs) is that they serve as a middleman, facilitating innovation and bringing new technology from inventors to those who can implement it. We survey those involved in patent licensing to see how often patent license demands actually led to innovation or technology transfer. We find that very few patent license demands actually lead to new innovation; most simply involve payment for the freedom to keep doing what the licensee was already doing. Surprisingly, this is true not only of NPE licenses but even of licenses from product-producing companies and universities. Our results cast significant doubt on one common justification for patent trolls.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 53
Keywords: patent, patents, troll, trolls, trolling, innovation, empirical, intellectual property
Date posted: February 16, 2015 ; Last revised: November 13, 2015