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Mobilizing National Innovation Assets: Understanding the Role of Sovereign Patent Funds

June 27, 2016

James Hinton has co-authored the report Mobilizing National Innovation Assets: Understanding the Role of Sovereign Patent Funds for The Centre for Digital Entrepreneurship and Economic Performance (DEEP Centre).

Sovereign patent funds (SPFs) are increasingly influential – and controversial – players in global IP markets. Collectively, SPFs now hold thousands of technology patents and are engaged in licensing and litigation activities worldwide. But despite their prominence, many questions about these funds remain unanswered. What types of assets have these funds acquired, and from where? What is their litigation track record? Are these funds really state-sponsored patent trolls – as some commentators have alleged – or are the models more complex and diverse?

Mobilizing National Innovation Assets seeks to answer these questions by examining the holdings and transaction histories of these funds in global IP markets. Focusing on the three most established SPFs – France Brevets, South Korea’s Intellectual Discovery, and Japan’s IP Bridge – the paper leverages data drawn from major patent offices alongside a review of each fund’s litigation activity to develop a clearer and more granular understanding of their objectives and strategies.

For countries considering the creation of a national SPF, findings from Mobilizing National Innovation Assets suggest that policymakers must be particularly attentive to matching means to ends, with an eye to constructing institutions that are fit for purpose and appropriately calibrated to achieve clear sets of policy objectives.

To read the report, download the PDF below.

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