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Shared Rights and Technological Progress

  • Mitchell, Matthew
  • Zhang, Yuzhe

We study how best to reward innovators whose work builds on earlier innovations. Incentives to innovate are obtained by offering innovators the opportunity to profit from their innovations. Since innovations compete, awarding rights to one innovator reduces the value of the rights to prior innovators. We show that the optimal allocation involves shared rights, where more than one innovator is promised a share of profits from a given innovation. We interpret such allocations in three ways: as patents that infringe on prior art, as licensing through an optimally designed ever-growing patent pool, and as randomization through litigation. We contrast the rate of technological progress under the optimal allocation with the outcome if sharing is prohibitively costly, and therefore must be avoided. Avoiding sharing initially slows progress, and leads to a more variable rate of technological progress.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 36537.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36537
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  1. Sugato Bhattacharyya & Francine Lafontaine, 1995. "Double-Sided Moral Hazard and the Nature of Share Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 761-781, Winter.
  2. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1999. "On the Optimality of the Patent Renewal System," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 181-196, Summer.
  3. Lerner, Josh & Strojwas, Marcin & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "The Design of Patent Pools: The Determinants of Licensing Rules," IDEI Working Papers 187, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  5. Barry Nalebuff, 1987. "Credible Pretrial Negotiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 198-210, Summer.
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  7. Michael J. Meurer, 1989. "The Settlement of Patent Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(1), pages 77-91, Spring.
  8. Matthew Mitchell, 2000. "Rewarding Sequential Innovators: Patents Prizes and Buyouts," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1650, Econometric Society.
  9. Ufuk Akcigit & William R. Kerr, 2012. "Growth Through Heterogeneous Innovations," Working Papers 12-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  10. Gerard Llobet & Hugo Hopenhayn & Matthew F. Mitchell, 2000. "Rewarding sequential innovators: prizes, patents and buyouts," Staff Report 273, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Emeric Henry, 2010. "Promising the right prize," Sciences Po publications 7758, Sciences Po.
  12. Hugo Hopenhayn & Matthew Mitchell, 2012. "Rewarding Duopoly Innovators: The Price of Exclusivity," NBER Chapters, in: Standards, Patents and Innovations National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Efficient Patent Pools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 691-711, June.
  14. Michael Kremer, 2000. "Creating Markets for New Vaccines Part II: Design Issues," NBER Working Papers 7717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Adam B. Jaffe & Josh Lerner & Scott Stern, 2008. "Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 8," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number jaff08-1, August.
  16. Kremer, Michael R., 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," Scholarly Articles 3693705, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Bagnoli, M. & Bergstrom, T., 1989. "Log-Concave Probability And Its Applications," Papers 89-23, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  18. Bessen, James, 2004. "Holdup and licensing of cumulative innovations with private information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 321-326, March.
  19. Shapiro, Carl, 2003. " Antitrust Limits to Patent Settlements," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 391-411, Summer.
  20. Lemley, Mark A. & Shapiro, Carl, 2004. "Probabilistic Patents," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt9xf1488p, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  21. V. V. Chari & Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2009. "Prizes and Patents: Using Market Signals to Provide Incentives for Innovations," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000398, David K. Levine.
  22. Chou Teyu & Haller Hans, 2007. "The Division of Profit in Sequential Innovation for Probabilistic Patents," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 581-609, December.
  23. Choi, J.P., 1997. "Patent Litigation as an Information Transmission Mechanism," Discussion Paper 1997-17, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  24. O'DONOGHUE, Ted & SCOTCHMER, Suzanne & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Patent breadth, patent life, and the pace of technological progress," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1314, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  25. Reiko Aoki & Jin-Li Hu, 1999. "Licensing vs. Litigation: The Effect of the Legal System on Incentives to Innovate," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 133-160, 03.
  26. Michael Kremer, 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism For Encouraging Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1137-1167, November.
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