ARTICLE: DISCLOSURE AS A STRATEGY IN THE PATENT RACE * Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2005 The University of Chicago
The Journal of Law & Economics

ARTICLE: DISCLOSURE AS A STRATEGY IN THE PATENT RACE *



* We thank two anonymous referees and two editors for their insightful comments. This paper owes a lot to Doug Lichtman. Doug was a coauthor of an earlier version but was unable to devote time to this revision. For helpful comments and conversations, we thank Paul Edelman, Rebecca Eisenberg, and workshop participants at the American Law and Economics Association annual meeting (May 2001).

April, 2005

48 J. Law & Econ. 173

Author

SCOTT BAKER and CLAUDIO MEZZETTI, University of North Carolina

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

RESEARCH firms occasionally allow their employees to make presentations at conferences, contribute articles to peer-reviewed journals, or both. Such activities unavoidably reveal some otherwise proprietary research information, but they are nevertheless easy to understand. The disclosures involved are typically small scale; they reward employees for their achievements and also lead to favorable publicity for the firm, perhaps making it easier for it to raise capital to fund future projects. Harder to understand are large-scale disclosures targeted toward the patent office. We have three examples of "targeted" disclosures in mind. First, there are the disclosures in the publications produced by companies such as IP.com and Research Disclosure, Inc. For a fee, these companies will place nonpatented technology in the public domain and make it readily available to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and other patent offices worldwide. IP.com and Research Disclosure, Inc., provide disclosure services for a large and diverse group of companies. 1 To show that these publications reveal valuable information, note that the publication of Research Disclosure, Inc., is often referenced in later-granted U.S. patents. 2

Second, IBM published a technical journal from 1958 until 1998. 3 Like the publication of Research Disclosure, Inc., the IBM journal revealed valuable information -- its articles have been cited over 48,000 times in U.S. patents. 4 IBM distributed its journal to patent offices at no fee.

Third, from February 1, 1976, through April 7, 1997, the Xerox Corporation published ...
 
 
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