Patent Pools: Licensing Strategies in the Absence of Regulation
California State University, East Bay - Department of Economics
Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
March 31, 2012
Patent pools allow competing firms to combine their patents and license them as a package to outside firms. Regulators today favor pools that license their patents freely to outside firms, making it difficult to observe the unconstrained licensing strategies of patent pools. This paper takes advantage of a unique period of regulatory tolerance during the New Deal to investigate the unconstrained licensing decisions of pools. Archival evidence suggests that - in the absence of regulation - pools may not choose to license their technologies. Eleven of 20 pools that formed between 1930 and 1938 did not issue any licenses to outside firms. Three pools granted one, two, and three licenses, respectively, to resolve litigation. Six pools issued between 9 and 185 licenses. Archival evidence suggests that these pools used licensing as a means to limit competition with substitute technologies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Patent Pools, Licensing, Patents, Intellectual Property, Economic History
JEL Classification: K00, N00, N42, O34
Date posted: May 7, 2012
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