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Complementary assets, patent thickets and hold-up threats: Do transaction costs undermine investments in innovation?

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  • Schwiebacher, Franz

Abstract

Innovation is commercialization of technology. Imperfections in markets for technology should leave marks on physical investments for innovation. Two types of transaction costs could affect innovative investments: royality stacking and hold-up threats. Backward references in firm's patent portfolio indicate potential technology suppliers. I find a negative effect of ownership fragmentation on investments related to innovation for firms with small patent portfolios. Hold-up threats are credible when upstream patentees have less specific capital sunk than innovating firms. Differences in fixed capital stocks between downstream firms and upstream patentees negatively affect investments in innovation for firms with large patent portfolios. These effects are specific to investments in innovation. There are no comparable effects on investments in R&D or residual physical investments. The effects of patent thickets on innovation are thus not uniform. They depend on the characteristics of the downstream firm.

Suggested Citation

  • Schwiebacher, Franz, 2012. "Complementary assets, patent thickets and hold-up threats: Do transaction costs undermine investments in innovation?," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-015, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:12015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Iain M. Cockburn & Megan J. MacGarvie & Elisabeth Müller, 2010. "Patent thickets, licensing and innovative performance," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 899-925, June.
    2. Gambardella, Alfonso & Giuri, Paola & Luzzi, Alessandra, 2007. "The market for patents in Europe," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1163-1183, October.
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    4. Almus, Matthias & Engel, Dirk & Prantl, Susanne, 2000. "The Mannheim Foundation Panels of the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW)," ZEW Dokumentationen 00-02, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Georg Graevenitz & Stefan Wagner & Dietmar Harhoff, 2013. "Incidence and Growth of Patent Thickets: The Impact of Technological Opportunities and Complexity," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 521-563, September.
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    7. Ashish Arora & Andrea Fosfuri & Alfonso Gambardella, 2004. "Markets for Technology: The Economics of Innovation and Corporate Strategy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262511819, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Market for Technology; Complementary Assets; Transaction Costs; Patent Thickets;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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