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Real Options in Technology Licensing

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  • Arvids A. Ziedonis

    () (Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109)

Abstract

This paper examines the use of options contracts by firms acquiring rights to commercialize university technologies. By combining information about the sequence of licensing decisions with characteristics of the firms and technologies involved, I explore factors that shape decisions to purchase and exercise option contracts for these technologies. Decisions by firms that considered but did not purchase an option or a license are included in the sample. Consistent with the basic premise of real-options theory, I find that firms are more likely to purchase option contracts for more uncertain technologies. Also in line with theoretical predictions, I find that firms that are better able to evaluate an external technology are less likely to purchase options before licensing. The results also highlight more complex motives for exercising options in technology licensing. On the one hand, firms appear to benefit from their ability to learn about the technology during the option period. On the other hand, firms that are better able to "absorb" the technology during the contract period may have reduced incentives to subsequently license the invention.

Suggested Citation

  • Arvids A. Ziedonis, 2007. "Real Options in Technology Licensing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(10), pages 1618-1633, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:53:y:2007:i:10:p:1618-1633
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1070.0705
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Isabella Leone & Raffaele Oriani & Toke Reichstein, 2015. "How much are flexibility and uncertainty worth in patent licensing?," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 371-394, December.
    2. Estrada, Isabel & de la Fuente, Gabriel & Martín-Cruz, Natalia, 2010. "Technological joint venture formation under the real options approach," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1185-1197, November.
    3. Drivas, Kyriakos & Economidou, Claire & Karamanis, Dimitris & Zank, Arleen, 2014. "Academic Patents and Technology Transfer," MPRA Paper 57476, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Cvitanic, Jaksa & Radas, Sonja & Sikic, Hrvoje, 2011. "Co-development ventures: Optimal time of entry and profit-sharing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1710-1730, October.
    5. Raffaele Oriani & Luigi Sereno, 2011. "Advanced Valuation Methods: The Real Options Approach," Chapters,in: The Economic Valuation of Patents, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Brent Goldfarb & Scott Shane & Marie Thursby, 2008. "Appropriability and Commercialization: Evidence from MIT Inventions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(5), pages 893-906, May.
    7. repec:bla:stratm:v:38:y:2017:i:1:p:42-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:eecrev:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:38-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Yuandi Wang & Zhao Zhou & Jason Li-Ying, 2013. "The impact of licensed-knowledge attributes on the innovation performance of licensee firms: evidence from the Chinese electronic industry," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 38(5), pages 699-715, October.
    10. Kim, Bongsun & Kim, Eonsoo & Miller, Douglas J. & Mahoney, Joseph T., 2016. "The impact of the timing of patents on innovation performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 914-928.
    11. Federico Munari & Maurizio Sobrero, 2011. "Economic and Management Perspectives on the Value of Patents," Chapters,in: The Economic Valuation of Patents, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Mastrogiorgio, Mariano & Gilsing, Victor, 2016. "Innovation through exaptation and its determinants: The role of technological complexity, analogy making & patent scope," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1419-1435.
    13. Wadhwa, Anu & Phelps, Corey & Kotha, Suresh, 2016. "Corporate venture capital portfolios and firm innovation," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 95-112.
    14. Liang, Hueimei & Lee, Kuo-Jung & Huang, Jen-Tsung & Lei, Hsien-Wei, 2013. "The optimal decisions in franchising under profit uncertainty," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 128-137.

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