Are patent law firms intermediaries of knowledge spillovers?

Dr. Stefan Wagner, European School of Management and Technology

We investigate to what extent patent law firms that work as contracted service agents for different clients facilitate knowledge spillovers among their clientele. In a first attempt, we address this research question by employing an empirical framework that models the patterns of knowledge spillovers by analyzing the likelihood of a citation between a pair of patents. A novel dataset containing not only information on patent characteristics and patent citations but also information on the patent law firms is used for the analysis. Our results show that knowledge spillovers are significantly more likely to occur between patent applicants that contract the same law firm. This finding implies that patent law firms act as knowledge brokers and constitute a channel of knowledge transmission that has so far not been discussed. Moreover, we show that spillovers induced by law firms can compensate for localization disadvantages by enabling knowledge externalities between spatially separated organizations.


About the speaker
Stefan Wagner joined ESMT European School of Management and Technology in February 2011 as an assistant professor. Previously he was an assistant professor in the Institute of Innovation Research, Technology Management, and Entrepreneurship (INNO-tec) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtät LMU in Munich, Germany. Stefan received his Habilitation in 2010 and his Doctorate in Economics in 2005 from LMU. During the course of his education Stefan was supported by the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation). He was Fulbright Scholar at the University of California Los Angeles UCLA and Visiting Scholar at the National Bureau of Economic Research NBER, Cambridge MA, as well as at the Intellectual Property Institute of Australia IPRIA, Melbourne. Stefan’s research interests cover the intersection of firm strategy, technological innovation, industrial organization and law. Currently, he is primarily interested in the interaction of the changing landscape of intellectual property rights (in particular patent systems) and firms’ long term strategy regarding their innovative activities. From a more practical perspective, he is also interested in venture creation and growth strategies for young firms. He has published in journals including Management Science, Research Policy and the Strategic Management Journal.

Venue: Conference Room

Date: 09 February 2012

Time: 12:30 - 13:30


UNU-MERIT