NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Jeremy G. Pearce

University of Chicago

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Institutional Affiliation: University of Chicago

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2019The Patent Troll: Benign Middleman or Stick-Up Artist?
with David S. Abrams, Ufuk Akcigit, Gokhan Oz: 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...
 
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