Joint ventures in patent contests with spillovers and the role of strategic budgeting
We consider an R&D contest between n firms in the presence of external spillovers. Our analysis focuses on the effects of these spillovers on joint venture activities between firms. In particular, we are interested in how different budget responsibilities within the research joint venture (RJV) affect profits of firms taking part in the joint venture and profits of their non-cooperating rival firms. Three arrangements for RJVs are analyzed: First, cooperation, in which the firms participating in the joint venture completely share the research they create in the innovation process and each firm has a sovereign budget responsibility. Second, a collusive arrangement in which the participating firms not only share their research but have joint budget responsibilities in the sense that they make all strategic choices cooperatively and maximize joint profits. Third, a hierarchical form, in which the cooperating firms establish joint headquarters which have strategic budget responsibility in the sense that it can strategically subsidize R&D efforts of its member firms so as to maximize overall RJV profits. We show that the first two arrangements can be mimiced in the hierarchical structure and that a hierarchical structure is optimal if it completely subsidizes its members’ R&D activities. In this case all rival firms are driven out of the contest.
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