Patent Law Reform and Innovation: An Empirical Assessment of the Last 20 Years

26 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2023

See all articles by Christian Helmers

Christian Helmers

Santa Clara University

Brian J. Love

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: September 22, 2023

Abstract

We ask whether the most important U.S. patent system reforms of the last 20 years—elimination of presumptive injunctive relief for victorious patent enforcers in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388 (2006), creation of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in the America Invents Act, and restriction of software’s eligibility for patent protection in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S. 208 (2014)—had a measurable impact on innovation in the U.S. Specifically, we construct firm-level measures of innovation and of exposure to each reform and adopt a variety of dif-in-dif approaches that assesses how innovation-related activities changed post-reform at relatively exposed versus relatively unexposed firms. We find: a positive association between eBay and R&D spending by firms that were relatively more exposed to patent litigation prior to the Court’s decision; a positive association between the introduction of PTAB proceedings and both R&D expenditures and patent filings by firms that innovate in tech classes where PTAB has been most active; and a positive association between Alice and both R&D spending by software firms and patenting by firms that held relatively more software patents prior to the Court’s opinion.

Keywords: patent, policy change, litigation, U.S.

JEL Classification: K41, L86, O31, O34

Suggested Citation

Helmers, Christian and Love, Brian J., Patent Law Reform and Innovation: An Empirical Assessment of the Last 20 Years (September 22, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4580645 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4580645

Christian Helmers

Santa Clara University ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA California 95053
United States

Brian J. Love (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

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