An Empirical Study on the Determinants of Essential Patent Claims in Compatibility Standards

28 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2011

See all articles by Rudi Bekkers

Rudi Bekkers

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE)

René Bongard

Statistics Netherlands

Alessandro Nuvolari

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM)

Date Written: July 30, 2011

Abstract

In the field of compatibility standards, an increasing number of companies claim to own so-called essential patents (i.e. those patents that are indispensable for designing and manufacturing products conforming to the standard). It is widely believed that the ownership of such patents is a very valuable bargaining tool in cross-license negotiations, while for non-producing firms such patents may result in a substantial stream of licensing revenues. In this paper we study the determinants of essential patent claims in compatibility standards. In particular, we assess the role of two main factors: the significance of the technological solution contained in the patent and the involvement of the applicant of the patent in the standardisation process. We examine the case of W CDMA, one of the most successful standards in mobile telecommunications. We compare the patents claimed essential for this standard with a control group of randomly selected, unclaimed patents covering the same time period and technology classes. We find empirical evidence that both factors have significant impact on the probability that a patent is claimed as essential, but the involvement in the standardisation process is a stronger determinant than the technical value (‘merit’) of the patent. On the basis of our findings, we offer policy recommendations.

Keywords: Essential patents, Compatibility standards, IPR policies, Mobile telecommunications, W-CDMA, Economics of information systems

Suggested Citation

Bekkers, Rudi and Bongard, René and Nuvolari, Alessandro, An Empirical Study on the Determinants of Essential Patent Claims in Compatibility Standards (July 30, 2011). Research Policy, Vol. 40, p. 1001, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1898873

Rudi Bekkers (Contact Author)

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) ( email )

Den Dolech 3, PO Box 513, Room IPO 2.40
Eindhoven, 5600MB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://home.ieis.tue.nl/rbekkers/

René Bongard

Statistics Netherlands ( email )

Henri Faasdreef 312
The Hague, 2492 JP
Netherlands

Alessandro Nuvolari

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM) ( email )

Piazza Martiri della Liberta', 33-I-56127
Pisa
Italy

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