How do firms utilize the deferred patent examination system? Evidence from Korea

Siwei Cao (School of Economics and Business Administration, Beijing Normal University, China)
Zhen Lei (Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Junbyoung Oh (Department of Economics, Inha University, Incheon, The Republic of Korea)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Publication date: 4 March 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate firm behaviors on patent examination request under the deferred patent examination system in Korea. The authors examine firm decisions on whether and when to request patent examinations when they face both uncertainty about invention’s value and market competition.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors provide a simple theoretical model and test a couple of hypothesis using Korea patent data. The authors employ KIPO (Korean intellectual patent office) patent applications data during 2006–2009 and incorporate it with firm financial data retrieved from1 Korea investor service-financial analysis system (KIS-FAS) database in Korea. The authors use the variation in the probability of lapsed patent applications filed in the same year and in the same technology field (at the four-digit IPC class level) of a patent application i as a proxy for the value of uncertainty, and further use one minus a firm’s market share (at the three-digit SIC industry level) as an indicator of the market competition faced by the firm/applicant.

Findings

The authors find that the examination requests of firms in Korea have interesting bipolar distribution, and both uncertainty about an invention’s value and market competition have significant impacts on firm’s decision for examination request. Applicants tend to utilize option value of waiting when uncertainty is high, but market competition attenuates the option value: the higher the competition, the less likely applicants are to delay or forego examination.

Originality/value

The authors’ study makes interesting contributions to the literature on the optimal design of the patent system in general and the deferred patent examination request system in particular. By considering the roles of both uncertainty and market competition in firm decisions, it provides a more comprehensive perspective on the deferred patent examination system. The study also provides empirical evidences on the broader research topic regarding firm decision for irreversible investment when faced with both uncertainty and competition, for which a strand of theoretical literature exists but empirical literature is largely limited. This study, which explicitly takes into account uncertainty and market competition, extends this line of empirical literature and fills the gap in the literature.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A3A2923769).

Citation

Cao, S., Lei, Z. and Oh, J. (2019), "How do firms utilize the deferred patent examination system? Evidence from Korea", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 234-256. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-03-2018-0066

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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