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Department ofEconomics


Technology Entry in the Presence of Patent Thickets

Christian Helmers, Bronwyn Hall and Georg von Graevenitz

Oxford Economic Papers


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We analyze how patent thickets affect entry into patenting. A model of entry into patenting thatallows for variation in technological opportunity, technological complexity and the extent ofpatent thickets is developed and analyzed. Using UK data we then show that patent thickets areassociated with a reduction of first time patenting in a technology controlling for the level oftechnological complexity and opportunity. Technologies characterized by more technologicalcomplexity and opportunity attract more entry into patenting. Our evidence indicates that patentthickets raise entry costs, which leads to less entry into technologies regardless of a firm’s size.

LSB Research, ECON, Christian Helamers, Forthcoming,