The Effect of Patent Litigation and Patent Assertion Entities on Entrepreneurial Activity

Kiebzaka, Stephen, Greg Raferta, and Catherine Tucker. Research Policy Vol. 45, No. 1 (2016): 218-231.

This paper empirically investigates the statistical relation between levels of patent litigation and venture capital (“VC”) investment in the U.S. We find that VC investment, a major funding source for entrepreneurial activity, initially increases with the number of litigated patents, but that there is a “tipping point” where further increases in the number of patents litigated are associated with decreased VC investment, which suggests an inverted U-shaped relation between patent litigation and VC investment. This appears strongest for technology patents, and negligible for products such as pharmaceuticals. There is some evidence of a similar inverted U-shaped relation between patent litigation and the creation of new small firms. Strikingly, we find evidence that litigation by frequent patent litigators, a proxy for PAE litigation, is directly associated with decreased VC investment with no positive effects initially.