Areas of Expertise (8)
John Allison is John R. Mary and Ralph Spence Centennial Professor of Business Administration in the Department of Business, Government, and Society. His primary research interests include the empirical study of patents, patent systems, and patent litigation. His primary teaching interests include patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and trademarks.
Baylor University School of Law: J.D., Law
Texas A&M University: B.A., Accounting
Media Appearances (3)
Murky Patent Laws Enable Trolls, Drive Up Costs and Stifle Innovation
Texas Enterprise | Big Ideas in Business online
Lengthy legal jousts--such as that between Apple and Samsung over smartphone patent infringement-- highlight many of the underlying problems in U.S. patent law. "Patent trolls," companies that don't manufacture anything, but buy up patents and sue masses of defendants, end up accounting for half of all patent lawsuits.
Patent Reform Bill: Short on Reform?
Texas Enterprise | Big Ideas in Business online
Somewhere in the middle of the vastly differing opinions about the recent patent reform bill — officially passed in September 2011 as the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act — lies the reality of what the bill does and does not address, and what it will actually mean for U.S. businesses and the economy. While the bill represents the most significant reform of the Patent Act since 1952 and brings major changes to key aspects of the patenting process, it remains unclear what the actual short- and long-term impacts will be.
X Marks the Spot: Treasure Hunting in the U.S. Patent System
McCombs Today online
Allison has made it his life's work to find out which of the 1.8 million active patents actually pose a threat to the activities of competitors. His careful research has uncovered the specific indicators and characteristics of patents that have economic value and market power.
Listing of the top scholarly works by John Allison.
We evaluate all substantive decisions rendered by any court in every patent case filed in 2008 and 2009 — decisions made between 2009 and 2013. We consider not just patent validity but also infringement and unenforceability. The result is a comprehensive picture of the outcomes of modern patent litigation, one that confirms conventional wisdom in some respects but upends it in others. In particular, we find a surprising amount of continuity in the basic outcomes of patent lawsuits over the past twenty years, despite rather dramatic changes in who brought patent suits during that time.
Among 17 major findings are: (1) Internet patents and their two subtypes were litigated at a far higher rate than other (non-Internet patents, or NIPs). (2) Within the category of Internet patents, those on business models were litigated at a significantly higher rate than those on business techniques. This paper was selected as one of the best articles on Intellectual Property Law of 2012.
The ability to obtain patents on software always has been important to some industry incumbents, while others have exhibited little need for patents and, displayed strenuous opposition to the patentability of software. The incumbents are a diverse group. Some produce only software; others have substantial hardware product lines. Regardless of the sector in which they participate, the incumbents spend massive amounts on research and development (R&D) - about 14% of their annual revenues, more than $60,000 per employee. However, there are important patterns in patenting practices that raw data on R&D investments cannot explain.
The doctrine of equivalents is an exception to normal patent infringement rules that allows patent owners to expand the scope of patents beyond their literal bounds. This paper explores what killed this doctrine in the 1990s.
In 2004, John Allison et al. published an article, Valuable Patents, reporting the results of the most comprehensive study ever done comparing various characteristics of patents that ended up in infringement litigation with patents that had not been litigated. David Adelman and Kathryn DeAngelis challenged the main findings of the 2004 article. In this article, we rebut each of the Adelman-DeAngelis criticisms.
Patents. Inventors. To most, these words conjure a vision of the solitary genius, the heroic
individual-Edison, Bell, Morse-working late into the evening in a garage to perfect a device
that will change the world. While a few patents are in fact for inventions that change the ...
Internet business method patents have been roundly criticized by most
observers as being singularly inferior to most other patents. Many have even argued that business methods should not be patentable subject matter. As a result, Congress and the ...
A great deal has been written lately on the growing importance of intellectual property rights
to the economy. With this new focus has come increased attention to the patent system. It is
well known that the number of patents is increasing rapidly. 'Scholars offer a variety of ...
Patents are big business. Individuals and companies are obtaining far more patents today
than ever before. 4 Some simple calculations make it clear that companies are spending
over $5 billion a year obtaining patents in the US-to say nothing of the costs of obtaining ...