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DEEP Centre Announces New Project on Sovereign Patent Funds

In the fall of 2014 the DEEP Centre published our initial report on state-backed patent buying organizations, known as sovereign patent funds (SPFs). While this report sought to provide an early survey of this new phenomenon and examine its implications for policymakers in Canada and around the world, many questions remain unanswered. Indeed, despite their proliferation in recent years, knowledge of SPFs in legal, business, and public policy circles remains limited. To help correct this, the DEEP Centre is pleased to announce a new project on SPFs that will seek to shed light on their holdings and activities in patent markets.

This new project aims to build a more granular and empirically robust account of the objectives and strategies of existing SPFs by examining their holdings and transaction history in the global IP marketplace. Leveraging data from major national and international patent offices, the project team will seek to answer a series of core empirical questions about these funds. Specifically, we will determine: a) how many patents existing SPFs hold; b) whether their holdings are primarily foreign or domestic; c) whether they are targeted at specific industries or technology sub sectors; d) how these funds have attempted to monetize their portfolios; and e) how holdings and strategies differ across major funds in Europe and Asia. The project will thus provide much needed background and inform debates regarding SPFs.

The project will be led by Warren Clarke, senior research associate at the DEEP Centre, and James Hinton, associate at Bereskin & Parr LLP.

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