Patent Thickets: Strategic Patenting of Complex Technologies
Patent race models assume that an innovator wins the only patent covering a product. But when technologies are complex, this property right is defective: ownership of a product’s technology is shared, not exclusive. In that case I show that if patent standards are low, firms build “thickets” of patents, especially incumbent firms in mature industries. When they assert these patents, innovators are forced to share rents under cross-licenses, making R&D incentives sub-optimal. On the other hand, when lead time advantages are significant and patent standards are high, firms pursue strategies of “mutual non-aggression.” Then R&D incentives are stronger, even optimal.
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- James Bessen & Robert M. Hunt, 2004.
"An empirical look at software patents,"
03-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2003.
"Efficient Patent Pools,"
IDEI Working Papers
211, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Bessen, James, 2004. "Holdup and licensing of cumulative innovations with private information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 321-326, March.
- Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003.
"Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not),"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
- Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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