Do universities look like patent trolls? An Empirical Study of University Patent Infringement Litigation in the United States
|Title||Do universities look like patent trolls? An Empirical Study of University Patent Infringement Litigation in the United States|
|Publication Type||Working Paper|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||Ascione, GS, Ciucci, L, Detotto, C, Sterzi, V|
|ISBN Number||978 88 68513 672|
|Keywords||patent assertion entities, patent litigation, patent quality, University patents|
In an attempt to increase revenues from patenting and licensing activities, some universities have started in recent years to pursue "overzealous" strategies to protect their existing patents, by enforcing them in court and selling them to the highest bidder. In our paper, we provide the first comprehensive evidence on the characteristics of universities’ litigation strategies, by comparing patents litigated by universities to those litigated by patent trolls and other entities. In doing so, we collect data on patent infringement lawsuits in the United States in the years 2003-2016 and we analyze three dimensions that have been identified in the literature as characteristics of patent trolls’ behavior: (i) the intensity with which a patent is litigated, (ii) the choice to file a patent lawsuit in the Federal District Court of Texas Eastern, and (iii) the quality of the asserted patents. We find that while overall universities’ litigation strategies seem to differ from those of patent trolls, this is not the case in the ICT field, the most targeted by trolls, where universities frequently litigate their patents in the Eastern District of Texas and that are of lower quality compared to patents litigated by other entities.