Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Have patent will sue

Technology Innovation and Intellectual Property (James Bessen) reported recently that the probability that a patent is the subject of a lawsuit within four years of being granted increased hugely between 1984 and 2000.
"This trend implies an increasing “litigiousness” on the part of patent holders and it suggests that patent holders are incurring greater litigation costs per patent. But it also means that prospective innovators have to wend their way through a minefield with many more patents and many more of those patents are likely to “explode” into lawsuits."
I wonder what the curve looks like since 2000? Bessen also points to an interesting paper by F. M. Scherer on “The Political Economy of Patent Policy Reform in the United States,”
"Mike Scherer tells the story of the interplay between political interests, policy and economics research over the last two decades, including the Bayh-Dole Act, the Hatch-Waxman Act, the creation of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the role of US in TRIPs negotiations."
It is a story that has been variously and brilliantly told by Peter Drahos, Pamela Samuelson and Jessica Litman but Scherer's paper is also worth a look. Abstract:
"This paper explores a paradox: the extensive tilt toward strengthened patent
laws in the United States and the world economy during the 1980s and 1990s, even
as economic research was revealing that patents played a relatively unimportant
incentive role in most large companies research and development investment
decisions. It proceeds by tracing the political and evidence-based history of several
major initiatives: the Bayh-Dole and Stevenson-Wydler Acts of 1980, the creation of
the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 1982, the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984,
changes in antitrust presumptions, and the inclusion of TRIPS provisions in the new
international trade rules emerging in 1993 from the Uruguay Round. An excursion
follows into the relatively sudden ascent of the term “intellectual property” as a
form of propaganda. Suggestions for further policy reforms are offered."

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