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Efficient Patent Pools

  • Josh Lerner
  • Jean Tirole

The paper builds a tractable model of a patent pool, an agreement among patent owners to license a set of their patents to one another or to third parties. It first provides a necessary and suñcient condition for a patent pool to enhance welfare. It shows that requiring pool members to be able to independently license patents matters if and only if the pool is otherwise welfare reducing, a property that allows the antitrust authorities to use this requirement to screen out unattractive pools. The paper then undertakes a number of extensions. It evaluates the external test' according to which patents with substitutes should not be included in a pool; analyzes the welfare implications of the reduction in the members' incentives to invent around or challenge the validity of each other's patents; looks at the rationale for the (common) provision of automatic assignment of future related patents to the pool; and, last, studies the intellectual property owners' incentives to form a pool or to cross-license when they themselves are users of the patents in the pool.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9175.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9175.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Publication status: published as Lerner, Josh and Jean Tirole. "Efficient Patent Pools," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(3,Jun), 691-711.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9175
Note: CF PR
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  1. Vincenzo Denicolo, 2002. "Sequential innovation and the patent-antitrust conflict," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(4), pages 649-668, October.
  2. Jerry A. Hausman & Gregory K. Leonard & Jean Tirole, 2003. "On Non-Exclusive Membership in Competing Joint Ventures," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000145, David K. Levine.
  3. Rasmusen, Eric, 1988. "Entry for Buyout," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 281-99, March.
  4. Brueckner, Jan K & Whalen, W Tom, 2000. "The Price Effects of International Airline Alliances," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 503-45, October.
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