Corbel, P. and Raytcheva, S. « Le brevet comme outil de gestion des risques : une étude exploratoire des effets de la détention d’un portefeuille de brevets sur le risque de subir une attaque en contrefaçon », Proceedings of the 18th International Conference of the AIMS (Association Internationale de Management Stratégique), Grenoble, June 2009
The aim of this article is to examine in more depth a phenomenon highlighted by Lanjouw and Schankerman (1): companies with large patent portfolios seem to be less often involved in infringement actions than others.
We have been able to analyse the reasons for this by cross-referencing an analysis grid derived from risk management and the views of practitioners on the role of patents. The holding of patents reduces both the magnitude of losses and the probability of occurrence through three patent functions: negotiation, deterrence and "mine clearance", as well as the associated skills. They also modify the various factors influencing the perception of risk at the level of both the target and the potential attacker.
Even if it is based more on a study of the discourse of professionals than on objective facts, this study contributes to extending the reasoning of risk management to a subject hitherto neglected by its specialists. Above all, it enables us to deepen our knowledge of some of the roles played by patents, which recent specialist literature has taken from their original role as an instrument for preventing technological imitation to become a genuine strategic management tool. The deterrent effect is one of those that has been little studied to date. Finally, this analysis has potential implications for the management of a patent portfolio. Companies for which reducing this risk is an important element of their IP strategy adopt specific behaviours, in particular the filing of a large number of patents, which our analysis helps to explain.
(1) Lanjouw, J.O. et Schankerman, M. “Enforcing patent rights”, NBER working paper No 8656, 2001.
The paper can be downloaded from the website of the conference.