Do Patents Shield Disclosure or Assure Exclusivity When Transacting Technology?
Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 05/13
Date: February 2013
Patents may assist trade in technology either by protecting buyers against the expropriation of the idea by third parties (the appropriation effect) or by enabling sellers to more frankly disclose the idea during the negotiation phase (the disclosure effect). We test for the presence of both these effects using quasi-experimental matching analysis on a novel dataset of 860 technology transaction negotiations. We identify the appropriation effect by comparing the probability of successful negotiations involving a granted patent with those involving a pending patent. Similarly, we identify the disclosure effect by comparing the probability of successful negotiations involving a pending patent with those involving no patent. We find evidence for the appropriation but not the disclosure effect: technology transaction negotiations involving a granted patent instead of a pending patent are 10 per cent more likely to be successfully completed (compared with an average completion rate of approximately 80 per cent).