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Patent thickets, licensing and innovative performance

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  • Cockburn, Iain M.
  • MacGarvie, Megan J.
  • Müller, Elisabeth

Abstract

We examine the relationship between fragmented intellectual property (IP) rights and the innovative performance of firms, taking into consideration the role played by in-licensing of IP. We find that firms facing more fragmented IP landscapes have a higher probability of in-licensing. For firms with small patent portfolios we also find a positive association between fragmentation and licensing costs as a share of sales. We observe a negative relationship between IP fragmentation and innovative performance, but only for firms that engage in in-licensing. In contrast, greater IP fragmentation is associated with higher innovative performance for firms that do not in-license. Furthermore, the effects of fragmentation on innovation also appear to depend on the size of a firm’s patent portfolio. These results suggest that the effects of fragmentation of upstream IP rights are not uniform, and instead vary according to the characteristics of the downstream firm. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 08-101 [rev.].

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:08101r

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Keywords: patent thickets; licensing; innovative performance;

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References

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  1. Siebert, Ralph & Graevenitz, Georg von, 2006. "How Licensing Resolves Hold-Up: Evidence from a Dynamic Panel Data Model with Unobserved Heterogeneity," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 105, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Joshua Gans & Scott Stern, 2003. "When does funding research by smaller firms bear fruit?: Evidence from the SBIR program," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 361-384.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. NAGAOKA Sadao & NISHIMURA Yoichiro, 2014. "Complementarity, Fragmentation, and the Effects of Patent Thickets," Discussion papers 14001, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  2. Gambardella, Alfonso & Giarratana, Marco S., 2013. "General technological capabilities, product market fragmentation, and markets for technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 315-325.
  3. Schwiebacher, Franz, 2012. "Complementary assets, patent thickets and hold-up threats: Do transaction costs undermine investments in innovation?," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-015, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Fischer, Timo & Henkel, Joachim, 2012. "Patent trolls on markets for technology – An empirical analysis of NPEs’ patent acquisitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1519-1533.
  5. Grimpe, Christoph & Hussinger, Katrin, 2014. "Pre-empted patents, infringed patents and firms’ participation in markets for technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 543-554.
  6. Schwiebacher, Franz, 2013. "Does fragmented or heterogeneous IP ownership stifle investments in innovation?," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-096, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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