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Patents and Smartphones (Small Players)

2015 Study

In June 2014, CLIP was awarded a research grant by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to research and report on the acquisition and use of patents by small businesses, individual inventors, and organizations with limited involvement in the smartphone industry. This new study on small participants in the smartphone market is a follow-up to the report on "The Impact of the Acquisition and Use of Patents on the Smartphone Industry," which CLIP previously prepared for WIPO and which examined the role of patents with respect to large market participants. The objective of this new research was both to obtain and analyze data that can provide insight on the openness of the smartphone market for small participants and to report on the impact that the ownership and enforcement of patents are having on the accessibility of the market to smaller industry players. The final report, "Patents and Small Participants in the Smartphone Industry," was published by WIPO in January 2015 and also in the Stanford Technology Law Review, 18 Stan. Tech. L. Rev. 375.

The study, prepared for WIPO as part of its work program on intellectual property and competition policy, provides an empirical analysis about small market participants in order to ascertain how patents impact their ability to compete in the marketplace.  Fordham CLIP found that patents are an important tool for small players entering the smartphone market, allowing them to gain access to investors and financing, as well as enhancing their ability to survive and effect a successful market exit.  The study also found that patent litigation, whether from operating companies or NPEs, does not appear as a significant concern for small players and does not appear to pose barriers to entry.  Fordham CLIP concluded that these are all positive indicators that patent rights are providing incentives for innovation among entry participants and small industry players.  The Fordham CLIP research team for the study consisted of Professor Joel R. Reidenberg, Fordham CLIP Academic Director; Fordham CLIP Executive Director, N. Cameron Russell; Patent Research Fellow, Maxim Price (FLS '08); and Fordham Law student and Project Fellow, Anand Mohan ('16).