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Abstract

The paper models the patenting behavior of the innovator/patent applicant who having invented a drastic product innovation decides on the optimal breadth of protection claimed. The patenting process is modeled as a sequential game of complete information. The patentee acts strategically and with foresight. He chooses the breadth of protection that induces the desired behavior by his opponents and he incorporates transaction costs that may have to be incurred to enforce his patent rights. Our results suggest that contrary to what is traditionally assumed it is not generally optimal for the patentee to claim the broadest protection possible.

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