Royalty Stacking in High Tech Industries: Separating Myth from Reality
AbstractA few recent contributions have claimed that in high-tech industries—where innovation is often cumulative and products include many components which are protected by patents in the hands of many different patent holders—the cost of obtaining all necessary licenses is too high. Some have even requested sweeping policy reforms to deal with the so-called royalty stacking problem. In this Essay we find that the empirical evidence—including new evidence for the 3G telecom industry—does not corroborate the gloomy predictions of the proponents of the royalty stacking hypothesis. A careful look at the theoretical underpinnings of this hypothesis explains the lack of empirical support. First, three necessary conditions must be satisfied for a royalty stacking problem to exist: (a) innovation must be cumulative, so that the patents are complementary; (b) there must be many patents for a given product; and (c) the many patents must be held by numerous, distinct rights holders. Second, royalty stacking may not be a problem even if the three necessary conditions are met; i.e., the three necessary conditions are not sufficient. And, third, several market mechanisms, such as cross licensing or voluntary patent pools, can be used to mitigate the costs of multiple concurrent patent negotiations. We conclude that the so-called royalty stacking problem is more myth than reality and that there is no reason to adopt the dramatic reforms in antitrust and patent law that have been recently proposed by, inter alia, Lemley and Shapiro (2006).
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6091.
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
- L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
- O34 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-02-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2007-02-24 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-INO-2007-02-24 (Innovation)
- NEP-IPR-2007-02-24 (Intellectual Property Rights)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paul A. David, 2005. "The Economic Logic of “Open Science” and the Balance between Private Property Rights and the Public Domain in Scientific Data and," Development and Comp Systems 0502006, EconWPA.
- Ariel Pakes, 1986.
"Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks,"
NBER Working Papers
1340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pakes, Ariel S, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 755-84, July.
- Sugato Bhattacharyya & Francine Lafontaine, 1995. "Double-Sided Moral Hazard and the Nature of Share Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 761-781, Winter.
- Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
- Rosemarie Ham Ziedonis, 2004. "Don't Fence Me In: Fragmented Markets for Technology and the Patent Acquisition Strategies of Firms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 804-820, June.
- Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
- Shapiro, Carl, 2006. "Injunctions, Hold-Up, and Patent Royalties," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt6px3m1rb, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Jaffe, Adam B, 1986.
"Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits, and Market Value,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 984-1001, December.
- Adam B. Jaffe, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 1815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Scherer, F. M. & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2000. "Technology policy for a world of skew-distributed outcomes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 559-566, April.
- Jerry R. Green & Suzanne Scotchmer, 1995.
"On the Division of Profit in Sequential Innovation,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 20-33, Spring.
- Green, J.R. & Scotchmer, S., 1993. "On the Division of Profit in Sequential Innovation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1638, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
- Müller, Elisabeth & MacGarvie, Megan J. & Cockburn, Iain M., 2008.
"Patent Thickets, Licensing and Innovative Performance,"
ZEW Discussion Papers
08-101, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Iain M. Cockburn & Megan J. MacGarvie & Elisabeth Müller, 2010. "Patent thickets, licensing and innovative performance," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 899-925, June.
- Cockburn, Iain M. & MacGarvie, Megan J. & Müller, Elisabeth, 2009. "Patent thickets, licensing and innovative performance," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-101 [rev.], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Mueller, Elisabeth & Cockburn, Iain M. & MacGarvie, Megan, 2013. "Access to intellectual property for innovation: Evidence on problems and coping strategies from German firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 529-541.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.