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Intellectual property clearinghouses: The effects of reduced transaction costs in licensing

  • Aoki, Reiko
  • Schiff, Aaron

We focus on downstream uses of intellectual property (IP) that combine multiple rights and examine the effects of introducing an IP clearinghouse. We identify the two sometimes conflicting functions of clearinghouses: transaction cost reductions and coordination. We show that reduced transaction costs cause licensors to raise royalties in some cases, which makes them worse off due to the [`]tragedy of the anticommons'. Downstream welfare effects may also be positive or negative and we characterize the effects on downstream manufacturers and final consumers. We also show that total welfare is most likely to increase following a transaction cost reduction when the number of intellectual property rights per downstream use is small, or if rights are relatively substitutable in downstream use, but it is also possible for welfare to decrease.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 22 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 218-227

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:22:y:2010:i:3:p:218-227
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  1. 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.
  2. Hollander, Abraham, 1984. "Market structure and performance in intellectual property : The case of copyright collectives," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 199-216, September.
  3. Kleit, Andrew N, 2000. "ASCAP Versus BMI (Versus CBS): Modeling Competition between and Bundling by Performance Rights Organizations," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(4), pages 579-90, October.
  4. Athreye, Suma & Cantwell, John, 2007. "Creating competition?: Globalisation and the emergence of new technology producers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 209-226, March.
  5. Nancy T. Gallini & Brian D. Wright, 1990. "Technology Transfer under Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 147-160, Spring.
  6. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Efficient Patent Pools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 691-711, June.
  7. Aoki, Reiko & Schiff, Aaron, 2007. "Promoting Access to Intellectual Property: Patent Pools, Copyright Collectives and Clearinghouses," PIE/CIS Discussion Paper 334, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  8. Arora, Ashish & Fosfuri, Andrea, 2003. "Licensing the market for technology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 277-295, October.
  9. Buchanan, James M & Yoon, Yong J, 2000. "Symmetric Tragedies: Commons and Anticommons," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 1-13, April.
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