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Should Good Patents Come in Small Packages? A Welfare Analysis of Intellectual Property Bundling

  • Gilbert, Richard J
  • Katz, Michael L

Intellectual property owners often hold the rights to several patents, each of which is essential to make or use a product. We compare the welfare properties of package licenses, under which a licensee pays the same fee regardless of the number of technologies licensed, with component licenses, under which each technology is licensed separately and there is no quantity discount. A central finding is that a long-term package license can induce incentives to invent around patents and invest in complementary assets that are closer to their socially optimal levels than are those induced by a long-term component license. We also identify settings in which a short-term license is a partial substitute for a package license and a prohibition on package licensing induces parties to adopt contracts that result in less efficient complementary investment because of hold-up.

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Paper provided by Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series with number qt59x0t6tv.

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Date of creation: 27 Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt59x0t6tv
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  1. Michael D. Whinston, 1989. "Tying, Foreclosure, and Exclusion," NBER Working Papers 2995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Schankerman, Mark & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2001. "Damages and Injunctions in Protecting Intellectual Property," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 199-220, Spring.
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  12. 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.
  13. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2002. "The Sale of Ideas: Strategic Disclosure, Property Rights, and Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 513-531.
  14. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Whinston, Michael D, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-83, May.
  15. Rey, Patrick & Salanie, Bernard, 1996. "On the Value of Commitment with Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1395-1414, November.
  16. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 1994. "Expropriation and Inventions: Appropriable Rents in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 190-209, March.
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