David Abrams

University of Pennsylvania
3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2019The Patent Troll: Benign Middleman or Stick-Up Artist?
with Ufuk Akcigit, Gokhan Oz, Jeremy G. Pearce: w25713
How do non-practicing entities ("Patent Trolls") impact innovation and technological progress? Although this question has important implications for industrial policy, little direct evidence about it exists. This paper provides new theoretical and empirical evidence to fill that gap. In the process, we inform a debate that has historically portrayed non-practicing entities (NPEs) as either "benign middlemen", who help to reallocate IP to where it is most productive, or "stick-up artists", who exploit the patent system to extract rents and thereby hurt innovation. We employ unprecedented access to NPE-derived patent and financial data, as well as a novel model that guides our data analysis. We find that NPEs acquire patents from small firms and those that are more litigation-prone, as well...
November 2013Patent Value and Citations: Creative Destruction or Strategic Disruption?
with Ufuk Akcigit, Jillian Grennan: w19647
Prior work suggests that more valuable patents are cited more. Using novel revenue data for tens of thousands of patents held by non-practicing entities (NPEs), we find that the relationship between citations and value forms an inverted-U, with fewer citations at the high end of value than in the middle. We explain the inverted-U with a model of innovation that has productive and strategic patents. Empirically, we observe more strategic patents where the model predicts: among inventors in fields of rapid development and where divisional applications are employed. These findings have important implications for our understanding of growth, innovation, intellectual property policy, and patent valuation.

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