University Licensing of Patents for Varietal Innovations in Agriculture
There has been a sharp increase in the number of patented fruit varieties developed by breeding programs at public universities in the United States. We developed an experiment to examine the revenue stream to universities from the licensing of these varietal innovations. In the experiment we asked subjects to bid for access for a patented input that would be used to manufacture a differentiated product; treatments were employed to solicit bids that were financed by fees, royalties, and a combination of the two mechanisms under exclusive and non-exclusive contracts. All treatments also considered the impact of demand uncertainty for the product that used the patented input. Our empirical results suggest that innovator revenues are greatest when royalties are used alone. In the absence of demand uncertainty, innovator revenues are greatest with an exclusive contract, but with demand uncertainty innovator revenues are greatest with non-exclusive contracts.
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