nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2021‒11‒08
four papers chosen by
Giovanni Ramello
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”

  1. Do universities look like patent trolls? An Empirical Study of University Patent Infringement Litigation in the United States By G.S Ascione; L. Ciucci; C. Detotto; V. Sterzi
  2. Do patents really foster innovation in the pharmaceutical sector? Results from an evolutionary, agent-based model By Giovanni Dosi; Elisa Palagi; Andrea Roventini; Emanuele Russo
  3. Intellectual Property Rights, Technology Transfer and International Trade By Ana Maria Santacreu
  4. Specialized Investments and Firms' Boundaries: Evidence from Textual Analysis of Patents By Bena, Jan; Erel, Isil; Wang, Daisy; Weisbach, Michael S.

  1. By: G.S Ascione; L. Ciucci; C. Detotto; V. Sterzi
    Abstract: In an attempt to increase revenues from patenting and licensing activities, some universities have started in recent years to pursue "overzealous" strategies to protect their existing patents, by enforcing them in court and selling them to the highest bidder. In our paper, we provide the first comprehensive evidence on the characteristics of universities' litigation strategies, by comparing patents litigated by universities to those litigated by patent trolls and other entities. In doing so, we collect data on patent infringement lawsuits in the United States in the years 2003-2016 and we analyze three dimensions that have been identified in the literature as characteristics of patent trolls' behavior - (i) the intensity with which a patent is litigated, (ii) the choice to file a patent lawsuit in the Federal District Court of Texas Eastern, and (iii) the quality of the asserted patents. We find that while overall universities' litigation strategies seem to differ from those of patent trolls, this is not the case in the ICT field, the most targeted by trolls, where universities frequently litigate their patents in the Eastern District of Texas and that are of lower quality compared to patents litigated by other entities.
    Keywords: University patents;patent litigation;patent assertion entities;patent quality
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Giovanni Dosi; Elisa Palagi; Andrea Roventini; Emanuele Russo
    Abstract: The role of the patent system in the pharmaceutical sector is highly debated also due to its strong public health implications. In this paper we develop an evolutionary, agent-based model of the pharmaceutical industry to explore the impact of different configurations of the patent system upon innovation and competition. The model is able to replicate the main stylized facts of the drug industry as emergent properties. We perform policy experiments to assess the impact of different IPR regimes changing the breadth and length of patents. Results suggest that enlarging the extent and duration of patents yields adverse effects in terms of innovation outcomes, as well as of market competition and consumer welfare. Such general conclusions hold even if one takes into account the possible positive effects on R&D intensity and information disclosure triggered by patents.
    Keywords: Innovation; Intellectual property rights; Market power; Pharmaceutical sector; Agent-based models.
    Date: 2021–10–28
  3. By: Ana Maria Santacreu
    Abstract: I study the short- and long-term effects of regional trade agreements (RTA) with strict intellectual property (IP) provisions. An empirical analysis using gravity methods suggests that regions signing these agreements share more technology in the form of technology licensing following the year of enforcement. I set up a multi-country model with endogenous productivity through innovation and adoption to quantify the effect of such agreements on innovation, growth and welfare. Adopters pay royalties to innovators for the use of their technology; the model allows for various degrees of IP rights enforcement ranging from pure imitation to perfect enforcement of IP rights. An improvement of IP protection in exchange for market access increases welfare, growth and innovation in the world. Developed countries benefit from a higher return to innovation and a lower home trade share, accruing welfare gains both in the short and long term. Developing countries are impacted through three channels: (i) internal IP reforms increase the return to domestic innovators, (ii) lower trade costs increase profits from exports, and (ii) higher royalty payments reduce the return to adopters. A counterfactual exercise shows that while the first two forces dominate in the long run, there are short-term losses from a lower return to adoption.
    Keywords: Technology Licensing; Regional Trade Agreements; Intellectual Property Rights
    JEL: F12 O33 O41 O47
    Date: 2021–07–20
  4. By: Bena, Jan (University of British Columbia); Erel, Isil (Ohio State University and European Corporate Governance Institute); Wang, Daisy (Ohio State University); Weisbach, Michael S. (Ohio State University and European Corporate Governance Institute)
    Abstract: Inducing firms to make specialized investments through bilateral contracts can be challenging because of potential holdup problems. Such contracting difficulties have long been argued to be an important reason for acquisitions. To evaluate the extent to which this motivation leads to mergers, we perform a textual analysis of the patents filed by the same lead inventors of the target firms before and after the mergers. We find that patents of inventors from target firms become 28.9% to 46.8% more specific to those of acquirers’ inventors following completed mergers, benchmarked against patents filed by targets and a group of counterfactual acquirers. This pattern is stronger for vertical mergers that are likely to require specialized investments. There is no change in the specificity of patents for mergers that are announced but not consummated. Overall, we provide empirical evidence that contracting issues in motivating specialized investment can be a motive for acquisitions.
    JEL: G34 L14 L22
    Date: 2021–08

This nep-ipr issue is ©2021 by Giovanni Ramello. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.