Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools and Standard Setting
AbstractIn several key industries, including semiconductors, biotechnology, computer software, and the Internet, our patent system is creating a patent thicket: an overlapping set of patent rights requiring that those seeking to commercialize new technology obtain licenses from multiple patentees. The patent thicket is especially thorny when combined with the risk of hold-up, namely the danger that new products will inadvertently infringe on patents issued after these products were designed. The need to navigate the patent thicket and hold-up is especially pronounced in industries such as telecommunications and computing in which formal standard-setting is a core part of bringing new technologies to market. Cross-licenses and patent pools are two natural and effective methods used by market participants to cut through the patent thicket, but each involves some transaction costs. Antitrust law and enforcement, with its historical hostility to cooperation among horizontal rivals, can easily add to these transaction costs. Yet a few relatively simple principles, such as the desirability package licensing for complementary patents but not for substitute patents, can go a long way towards insuring that antitrust will help solve the problems caused by the patent thicket and by hold-up rather than exacerbating them.
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Date of creation: 23 Sep 2004
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Other versions of this item:
- Carl Shapiro, 2001. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard Setting," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 119-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carl Shapiro, 2003. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting," Law and Economics 0303005, EconWPA.
- Shapiro, Carl, 2000. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt4hs5s9wk, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law
- L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-09-30 (All new papers)
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Propiedad intelectual, monopolios y el laberinto de la innovación
by Cives in Politikon on 2012-06-02 16:50:00
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