Essays on Patent Litigation, Patent Monetization, and Entrepreneurial Firms

2020-07-28T14:07:35Z (GMT) by Mingtao Xu
This dissertation studies how patents are monetized via legal actions without practicing the technology and the implications to firms. In recent years, scholars in other fields have extensively studied patent monetization and litigation regime, given the importance of technological innovation and commercialization to the strategy field, strategy scholars have been underrepresented on the topic of patent litigation and monetization. In this dissertation, I develop a theory on how heterogeneity in firms' business models monetizing resources determine firms' heterogeneity in valuation and acquisition of resources. Using a context of patents, we study two primary business models monetizing patents, namely, the practicing monetization and litigating monetization, which differ fundamentally in their value appropriation mechanisms. On the one hand, the value appropriation mechanism for practicing monetization relies on the value created by the firm's deployment of the patented technology in the product market, and from the restraint of rivalry via excluding competitors from accessing the patented technology. On the other hand, litigating monetization depends on the strength of legal actions and the ability to collect payments from target firms to the patent-owning firm, in forms such as settlement fees and damages awarded by the court. The theorization reclarifies the two types of patent heterogeneity: innovativeness and exclusivity, and theorize that differences in patents' innovativeness and exclusivity lead to differences in the expected profit from practicing and litigating monetization, thus leading to a difference in optimal monetization strategy and firms' different preferences for resource acquisition.

In Essay 1, we develop the aforementioned theory of patent monetization using formal models to understand the relationships among firms' business models, patent characteristics, and the optimal monetization strategy. We show the situations where litigating monetization can prevail and be the method that maximizes patents' value. We further predict that compared to patents that are practiced to produce products or services, patents monetized in a litigating manner are ones that are relatively less technologically innovative. Then, in Essay 2, I use the patent monetization context to investigate how firms' business models affect their resource acquisition behavior in the factor market, i.e., the market of patents. Exploiting recent institutional changes such as the enactment of the American Invents Act (AIA) that asymmetrically influenced different business models, I show that firms specialize in litigating monetization disproportionately acquire highly cited but old patents and patents that were litigated before. Then Essay 3, rooted in the literature that patents are essential signals from entrepreneurial firms to investors, I examine how disputes in patents in the form of litigations affect entrepreneurial firms' obtaining of external financing.