|Image via IMDB|
"The paradox of openness revisited: Collaborative innovation and patenting by UK innovators" by Ashish Arora, Suma Athreye and Can Huang (open access.) Examining the "paradox of openness," in which "opening up to outside sources of knowledge to innovate may weaken the firm's power to capture rents from that knowledge." (Rent, in very simplified economic terms, is excess returns. E.g. the legal profession earns rent by requiring lawyers meet membership criteria and therefore restricting competition.) The authors use comprehensive UK survey data to study how firms set out their strategies. One interesting finding was that firms with incremental innovations (i.e. not breakthroughs), "may be less willing to patent because it makes them a less attractive open partner and perhaps also less able to derive value from collaboration." Firms that are too bombastic about protecting their IP are off-putting (I've heard similar things in the creative industries and non-disclosure agreements.) The authors describe two phenomena in the interaction between patenting and open innovation/collaboration. In "spillover prevention," firms patent to prevent unintended knowledge spillovers in collaborations, in "organizational openness," firms don't patent as it makes them a less attractive partner. Firms are described as leaders and followers in innovation races (followers are sometimes called imitators.) Leaders are more likely to patent due to "spillover prevention" and followers, due to "organizational openness."
|Types and reasons for patent non-use (Walsh et al)|
“Win, lose or draw? The fate of patented inventions” by John P. Walsh, You-Na Leea, and Taehyun Jung focuses on non-use of patents (pay walled.) The study looks a ‘triadic’ patents (patents which have been applied for at the EPO, JPO and granted by the USPTO.) The key finding is that, “55% of triadic patents are commercialized. We also find that 17% of all triadic patents are not commercialized but are at least partially for preemption, though only 3% of all triadic patents are purely preemptive patents.” Preemption is patenting for strategic purposes, rather than commercial. (You could argue the two are one and the same, but the paper focuses on preemptive non-use, as in strategic patenting with no intention to use the patent.) The paper goes into much more detail, but the punchline is that nearly half of triadic patents are not used, but ‘strategic’ patenting may be less prevalent than popular discourse would have you believe.
Over to you, IPKat readers, as I know you have quite strong feelings about patent, and economic analysis of!