NPEs’ patent acquisitions : empirical analysis of patent data
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- Master Thesis 
Patent trolls, or NPEs, act as intermediaries in the markets for technology and behave opportunistically to earn profit through patent litigation and licensing. Some researchers claim that NPEs harm the economy and innovation, but few studies address the issue related to the supply side of NPEs’ patent acquisitions. Thus, in this thesis, we want to empirically analyze NPEs’ patent acquisitions using the USPTO patent assignment dataset to explore who are the patent sellers (firms) to the NPEs and if they are different than the sellers to non-NPEs. Similarly, we investigate what kind of patents do NPEs acquire and whether these patents are different than non-NPEs. The analysis is based on secondary data. After extensive data cleaning, we used the final dataset of 119,777 containing 18,010 patents acquired by NPEs and 101,767 by non-NPEs between 2005 and 2014. Our empirical analysis revealed that the firms and patents are statistically significantly different between NPEs and non-NPEs. In contrast with previous research, our results showed that NPEs are more likely to acquire patents from very large companies. Additionally, on average, NPEs are more likely to acquire significantly higher quality patents (with higher patent scope, forward citations, backward citations and claims) mostly in specific category from non-US based companies than that nonNPEs are likely to acquire. We also found that patents acquired by NPEs have more claims and words adjustments during the grant process than by non-NPEs. Finally, research implications, limitations, and opportunities for future research are discussed.