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Patent licensing revisited: heterogeneous firms and product differentiation

  • Rubén Hernández-Murillo
  • Gerard Llobet

In this paper we study the optimal licensing agreement between a patentholder of a cost-reducing innovation and firms that have heterogeneous uses for the new technology. We consider the case in which these firms are competitors in a downstream market. We extend the competition environment among the licensees beyond the Cournot/Bertrand models considered by the previous literature to a framework with differentiated products. We also assume that potential licensees have private information about the usefulness of the new technology. We characterize two purposes the optimal licensing contract serves to the patentholder: separation of the licensees and competition softening in the downstream market. We also describe how the optimal contract changes with the degree of product differentiation.

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File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2002/2002-031.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2002-031.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Publication status: Published in International Journal of Industrial Organization, January 2006, 24(1), pp. 149-75
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2002-031
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  1. Kamien, Morton I., 1992. "Patent licensing," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 331-354 Elsevier.
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  5. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1993. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 302-04, March.
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  7. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Marie Thursby & Richard Jensen, 2001. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Licensing of University Inventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 240-259, March.
  10. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 1984. "Monopoly with Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 171-196, Summer.
  11. Wang, X Henry & Yang, Bill Z, 1999. "On Licensing under Bertrand Competition," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(2), pages 106-19, June.
  12. Wang, X. Henry, 1998. "Fee versus royalty licensing in a Cournot duopoly model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 55-62, July.
  13. Llobet, Gerard, 2003. "Patent litigation when innovation is cumulative," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(8), pages 1135-1157, October.
  14. Fauli-Oller, Ramon & Sandonis, Joel, 2002. "Welfare reducing licensing," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 192-205, November.
  15. Ana I. Saracho, 2005. "The Relationship Between Patent Licensing And Competitive Behavior," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 73(5), pages 563-581, 09.
  16. Bousquet, Alain & Cremer, Helmuth & Ivaldi, Marc & Wolkowicz, Michel, 1998. "Risk sharing in licensing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 535-554, September.
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