The Layered Patent System

Our patent system appears divided, both by technology and the types of inventors and patentees. While these divisions are real, each alone does not capture the layered connections between investors, enforcers, and technologies. Twenty-five years of litigation is studied to show how enforcement, patentees, and technology fit together to create our patent system. Who obtained the patent initially is better correlated with patent invalidation than who brought the lawsuit, and what appear to be technology differences may also be patentee and plaintiff differences. These revelations change how we look at the patent system, because most proposals focus on only one layer at a time.

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