This paper provides the first look at patent litigation hazards for public firms during the 80s and 90s. Consistent with our model, litigation is more likely when prospective defendants spend more on R&D, when prospective plaintiffs acquire more patents and when firms are larger and technologically close. Public firms face dramatically increased hazards of litigation as plaintiffs and even more rapidly increasing hazards as defendants, especially for small public firms. The increase cannot be explained by patenting rates, R&D, firm value or industry composition. Legal changes are the most likely explanation.
James Bessen & Michael Meurer,
The Patent Litigation Explosion
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