Incidence and Growth of Patent Thickets - The Impact of Technological Opportunities and Complexity

Von Graevenitz, Georg, Wagner, Stefan and Harhoff, Dietmar (2013) Incidence and Growth of Patent Thickets - The Impact of Technological Opportunities and Complexity. Journal of Industrial Economics, LXI (3). pp. 521-563. ISSN 1467-6451

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Abstract

We investigate incidence and evolution of patent thickets. Our empirical analysis is based on a theoretical model of patenting in complex and discrete technologies. The model cap- tures how competition for patent portfolios and complementarity of patents affect patent- ing incentives. We show that lower technological opportunities increase patenting in- centives in complex technologies while they decrease incentives in discrete technologies. Also, more competitors increase patenting incentives in complex technologies and reduce them in discrete technologies. To test these predictions a new measure of the density of patent thickets is introduced. European patent citations are used to construct measures of fragmentation and technological opportunity. Our empirical analysis is based on a panel capturing patenting behavior of 2074 firms in 30 technology areas over 15 years. GMM estimation results confirm the predictions of our theoretical model. The results show that patent thickets exist in 9 out of 30 technology areas. We find that decreased technological opportunities are a surprisingly strong driver of patent thicket growth.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Georg Von Graevenitz
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2012 14:30
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2020 23:27
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/39545
DOI: 10.1111/joie.12032

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