Exploring the Boundaries of Patent Commercialization Models via Litigation
Doctoral thesis, 2022
theory of the firm
Intellectual property rights
research and development
Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Entrepreneurship and Strategy
Thomas Ewing. Indirect Exploitation of Intellectual Property Rights by Corporations and Investors: IP Privateering & Modern Letters of Marque & Reprisal. Published in Hastings Science and Technology Law Journal, Vol. 4, pages 1-108.
Thomas Ewing and Robin Feldman, The Giants Among Us. Published in The Stanford Technology Law Review, 2012, Vol. 1, pages 1-62.
Thomas Ewing. Practical Considerations in the Indirect Deployment of Intellectual Property Rights by Corporations and Investors. Published in Hastings Science and Technology Law Journal, Vol. 4, pages 109-158.
Robin Feldman, Thomas Ewing, and Sara Jeruss. The AAI 500 Expanded: The Effects of Patent Monetization Entities. Published in the UCLA Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 17, No. 2, pages 1-107.
Ewing, T., Holgersson, M., Björkdahl J. Patent Litigation Strategy: Battling on the Boundaries of the Firm. Submitted to Research-Technology Management.
This thesis explores patent assertion, a complex activity whose mastery requires knowledge, creativity, and financial resources, as well as a colorable infringement case. Patents, government-granted rights controlling access to new inventions, achieved economic significance during the Industrial Revolution.
Patents are tools for securing investments and governing licensing arrangements. Patents may also be used to keep competitors away from patent-protected products and to collect money from infringers. Hostile patent assertions have skyrocketed in recent years. Some researchers claim that laws related to the patent assertion urgently need reform. However, these researchers’ complaints are often contradictory, and there is no agreed upon definition of success.
To explore these issues, this thesis investigates patent assertion business models. Since secrecy underpins patent assertion strategies, the thesis benefits from rich secondary data enhanced by a data-chaining technique developed for this research that assembles small pieces of data into larger collections.
This research has discovered that one successful patent assertion business model known as a non-practicing entity (“NPE” or colloquially “patent troll”), represents roughly half of all US patent litigations and has spawned two other business models, the highly capitalized “patent mass aggregator” and the “patent privateer.”
The patent privateer, newly discovered in this research, enables firms to attack competitors through specialized NPEs. Patent mass aggregators, firms that spend billions to purchase thousands of patents, have also been investigated and found to comprise service providers to larger firms. These specialized NPEs expand the formal boundaries of the firms employing their services. This research has also explored plaintiff firm management processes during litigation, focusing on commercial contexts driving patent assertion strategies, even after litigants have suffered a major litigation setback.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
Economics and Business
Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 5122
Götaplatsen conference room, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8
Opponent: Professor Martin Bader, University of Applied Sciences Ingolstadt, Germany