The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office resolves patent priority disputes in patent interference cases. Using a random sample of cases declared between 1988 and 1994, we establish a connection between patent interferences and patent races, and then use the data to consider some key issues in dynamic competition and innovation. We look at the incidence and distribution of patent races by technology, evidence for strategic delay of innovation by incumbent firms, and evidence that patent races moderate incentives to delay. Our results have implications for patent policy in general and for evaluating the U.S. “first to invent” patent priority rule.
Date of this Version
Linda R. Cohen and Jun Ishii, "Competition, Innovation and Racing for Priority at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office" (January 2006). University of Southern California Law and Economics Working Paper Series. Working Paper 39.