Title page for ETD etd-05152011-144350

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Macheli-Mkhabela, Seara
URN etd-05152011-144350
Document Title Optimal patent breadth and patent length for touch-screen handsets
Degree MBA
Department Gordon Institute of Business Science
Advisor Name Title
Mr M Holland Supervisor
  • protection and value
  • patent length
  • patent breadth
Date 2010-11-10
Availability unrestricted

The basic principle of patent law is to provide the innovator a negative right to exclude others from making, using, exercising, offering to dispose of and marketing the invention within a limited statutory period. Two aspects of patent theory have polarised research since the Schumpetian era; namely, the balance between this individual right and the societal loss and the level of patent protection that incentivises innovation. Only in recent times has there been research activity on the problem of the shortened patent life and optimal patent design.

This empirical study sought to determine the optimal patent protection; thus patent breadth and patent length that create patent value for touch-screen handsets without increasing societal loss.

In previous literature mathematical modeling was used as a methodology to determine the optimal patent breadth and patent length. In this study, a quantitative method was used with empirical evidence collected from all patent attorneys practicing in South Africa.

The study provides empirical evidence that patent breadth and patent length should vary based on product sectors as a „one-size-fits-all‟ patent protection approach is outdated in product sectors characterised by rapid technological innovation. From the study results it was concluded that long-lived narrow patents are optimal for touch-screen handsets. Lastly, that there are more underlying factors that contribute to patent value in touch-screen handsets that should be investigated further.

Copyright © 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Macheli-Mkhabela, S 2010, Optimal patent breadth and patent length for touch-screen handsets, MBA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05152011-144350/>


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