To what extent and with what effect do owners of standard-essential patents (SEPs) “hold-up” companies that produce standard-compliant products? To explore this question, we construct measures of opportunistic patent licensing behaviors using detailed information collected from the dockets of U.S. patent cases filed (2010-2019) to enforce SEPs and a matched sample of non-SEPs. Overall, we find evidence of opportunistic behavior by the patent enforcer in approximately 77% of SEP and 65% of non-SEP assertions in court. The figures mask important heterogeneity. There is significantly more opportunistic conduct aimed at increasing a potential licensee’s loss if the patent enforcer prevails in court: 35% of SEP assertions vs. 10% of non-SEP assertions. In contrast, conduct that increases a potential licensee’s litigation costs is less common and the difference between SEP assertions (8%) and non-SEP assertions (6%) is small. We also show that opportunistic behavior is associated with case outcomes, with the effect on settlement depending on the type of opportunistic behavior. Behavior that increases a potential licensee’s litigation costs is associated with an increase in the probability of settlement, while behavior that increases a potential licensee’s loss if the patent enforcer prevails in court is negatively associated with settlement.
Litigation, standards, patents, holdup, U.S.;
- K41: Litigation Process
- O30: General
Brian Love, Yassine Lefouili, and Christian Helmers, “Do Standard-Essential Patent Owners Behave Opportunistically? Evidence from U.S. District Court Dockets”, TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1160, November 2020, revised February 2023.
TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1160, November 2020, revised February 2023