Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting
In several key industries, including semiconductors, biotechnology, computer software, and the Internet, our patent system is creating a patent thicket: an overlapping set of patent rights requiring that those seeking to commercialize new technology obtain licenses from multiple patentees. The patent thicket is especially thorny when combined with the risk of hold-up, namely the danger that new products will inadvertently infringe on patents issued after these products were designed. The need to navigate the patent thicket and hold-up is especially pronounced in industries such as telecommunications and computing in which formal standard-setting is a core part of bringing new technologies to market. Cross-licenses and patent pools are two natural and effective methods used by market participants to cut through the patent thicket, but each involves some transaction costs. Antitrust law and enforcement, with its historical hostility to cooperation among horizontal rivals, can easily add to these transaction costs. Yet a few relatively simple principles, such as the desirability package licensing for complementary patents but not for substitute patents, can go a long way towards insuring that antitrust will help solve the problems caused by the patent thicket and by hold-up rather than exacerbating them.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bronwyn H. Hall and Marie Ham., 1999.
"The Patent Paradox Revisited: Determinants of Patenting in the US Semiconductor Industry, 1980-94,"
Economics Working Papers
E99-268, University of California at Berkeley.
- Hall, Bronwyn H. & Ham, Rose Marie, 1999. "The Patent Paradox Revisited: Determinants of Patenting in the US Semiconductor Industry, 1980-94," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2nk0w2hz, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Bronwyn H. Hall & Rose Marie Ham, 2000. "The Patent Paradox Revisited: Determinants of Patenting in the US Semiconductor Industry, 1980-94," Development and Comp Systems 9912001, EconWPA.
- Bronwyn H. Hall & Rose Marie Ham, 1999. "The Patent Paradox Revisited: Determinants of Patenting in the US Semiconductor Industry, 1980-94," NBER Working Papers 7062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hall, Bronwyn H. & Ham Ziedonis, Rosemarie, 1999. "Patent Paradox Revisited: Determinants of Patenting in the U.S. Semiconductor Industry, 1980-94," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt1rg1088v, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1997. "Antitrust Issues in the Licensing of Intellectual Property: The Nine No-No's Meet the Nineties," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1997 Micr), pages 283-349.
- Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1998.
"Stronger protection or technological revolution: what is behind the recent surge in patenting?,"
Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy,
Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 247-304, June.
- Samuel Kortum & Josh Lerner, 1997. "Stronger Protection or Technological Revolution: What is Behind the Recent Surge in Patenting?," NBER Working Papers 6204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Shapiro, Carl, 1989. "Theories of oligopoly behavior," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 329-414 Elsevier.
- Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1985. "On the Licensing of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 504-520, Winter.
- Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
- Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Jeff Lindsay (second nomination) in Wikipedia English ne '')
- Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Log/2006 July 6 in Wikipedia English ne '')
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0303005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.