OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers

1815-1965 (online)
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The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) leads OECD research on the contribution of science, technology and industry to well-being and economic growth. STI Working Papers cover a broad range of topics including definition and measurement of science and technology indicators, global value chains, and research on policies to promote innovation. These technical or analytical working papers are prepared by staff or outside consultants to share early insights and elicit feedback.

Pre-Emptive Patenting

Securing Market Exclusion and Freedom of Operation You or your institution have access to this content

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Dominique Guellec, Catalina Martinez1, Maria Pluvia Zuniga
Author Affiliations
  • 1: Institute of Public Goods and Policies (IPP-CSIC), Spain

30 Dec 2009
Bibliographic information

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We investigate statistically the characteristics, functioning and incidence of pre-emptive patenting, defined as patent filings whose main effect is to hamper the grant of other patents. Patent applications can be used to prevent the grant of exclusive rights on markets and technologies to others in order to ensure freedom of operation to their holder or keep patent-less competitors out of the market. Combining data from examination outcomes and prior art at the European Patent Office (EPO), we develop a methodology to identify pre-emptive patent applications. We find evidence of pre-emption associated to patent applications cited as compromising patentability while being deemed non inventive. Furthermore, amongst them, those which are withdrawn by the applicant have the strongest pre-emptive power. The coincidence of low inventiveness and high pre-emptive impact supports the idea that some of these patents may be strategically designed by their applicants to block patenting by others.
pre-emptive patenting, blocking patents, offensive and defensive patenting, citations, patents
JEL Classification:
  • C25: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Single Equation Models ; Single Variables / Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models ; Discrete Regressors ; Proportions ; Probabilities
  • C51: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Econometric Modeling / Model Construction and Estimation
  • K41: Law and Economics / Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior / Litigation Process
  • L00: Industrial Organization / General / General
  • L20: Industrial Organization / Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior / General
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