Exploring the Boundaries of Patent Commercialization Models via Litigation
Doktorsavhandling, 2022

This thesis explores direct patent commercialization via patent assertion, particularly patent infringement litigation, a complex nonmarket activity whose successful undertaking requires knowledge, creativity, and financial resources, as well as a colorable infringement case. Despite these complexities, firms have increasingly employed patents as competitive tools via patent assertions, particularly in the United States. This thesis explores the business models that have been created to facilitate the direct monetization of patents. Since secrecy underpins the patent assertion strategies studied, the thesis is based on rich and enhanced secondary data. In particular, a data chaining technique has been developed to assemble relevant but disparate data into a larger coherent data set that is amenable to combination and pairing with other forms of relevant public data. This research has discovered that one particularly successful business model that employs a leveraging strategy, known as the non-practicing entity (“NPE”), has itself spawned at least two other business models, the highly capitalized “patent mass aggregator” and the “patent privateer.” The patent privateer, newly discovered in this research, is particularly interesting because it provides a way for firms to employ patents to attack competitors by forming specialized NPEs in a manner that essentially expands the boundaries of the firm. This research has also examined plaintiff firm management processes during litigations brought under leveraging and proprietary strategies, the two patent litigation strategies in which firms affirmatively initiate infringement litigations. In particular, this research investigates the commercial contexts that drive patent assertion strategies to explore the effective limits of the patent right in a litigation context. The investigation concludes that a variety of robust business models and management processes may be quite successful in extracting value from patents in the US.

value appropriation

innovation economics

Intellectual property rights

research and development

theory of the firm

patents

governance

licensing

strategy

technology management

Götaplatsen conference room, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8
Opponent: Professor Martin Bader, University of Applied Sciences Ingolstadt, Germany



Författare

Thomas Ewing

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, 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.

PROBING THE LIMITS OF PATENT COMMERCIALIZATION

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.

Drivkrafter

Innovation och entreprenörskap

Ämneskategorier

Ekonomi och näringsliv

ISBN

978-91-7905-656-8

Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 5122

Utgivare

Chalmers

Götaplatsen conference room, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8

Online

Opponent: Professor Martin Bader, University of Applied Sciences Ingolstadt, Germany

Mer information

Senast uppdaterat

2022-05-06