Continuations allow inventors to claim technology developed after the original filing date of their patent, leading to concerns about inadvertent infringement and hold-up. We use the link between patents and standards created by the disclosure of standard essential patents (SEPs) to analyze the relationship between standard publication – a key observable milestone in technology development – and continuations. More than half of the SEPs in our data are filed after standard publication. Consistent with opportunistic behavior by patentees, there is a large increase in continuations immediately after standard publication. Keywords in the claims of SEPs linked to the same standard also become more similar after that standard is published.
Patenting Inventions or Inventing Patents? Strategic Use of Continuations at the USPTO