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Patent use, Technology Licensing and IP management in UK firms

Funding body

ESRC

Investigator(s)

Principal investigator: Prof Suma Athreye
 

Project description

This joint project with the Intellectual Propert Office (IPO) and Prof. Ashish Arora, Duke University will gather evidence on the role of patent protection in the UK economy - particularly the use of patents by firms and the strategies being used by firms to manage their IP and circumvent the problems caused by overlapping patent rights or ‘patent thickets’. The team will bring new academic thinking on these issues  through a small-scale (US and UK) survey project where the user community is involved in generating and gathering the data needed. By doing this the team will be able to plug important evidentiary gaps about the recourse to patenting by innovative firms and also the use of patents though licensing and cross-licensing in the economy. In addition, a detailed survey of UK IP management practices based on similar surveys conducted in the US will enable a deeper understanding of the patent thicket question as well as the measures UK firms are taking to gain 'freedom to operate'. The team expects that this understanding and analysis of IP management practices will be a valuable input in IPOs training programmes, will raise awareness in small and medium firms and will also inform IP policy in the UK.