Patent Licensing, Technology Transfer, & Innovation

Mark A. Lemley

Stanford Law School

Robin Feldman

University of California Hastings College of the Law

February 26, 2016

Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 484

Traditional justifications for patents are all based on direct or indirect contribution to the creation of new products. Patents serve the social interest if they provide not just invention, but innovation the world would not otherwise have. Non-practicing entities (NPEs) as well as product-producing companies can sometimes provide such innovation, either directly, through working the patent or transfer of technology to others who do, or indirectly, when others copy the patented innovation. The available evidence suggests, however, that patent licensing demands and lawsuits from NPEs are normally not cases that involve any of these activities.

Some scholars have argued that patents can be valuable even without technology transfer because the ability to exclude others from the market may drive commercialization that would not otherwise occur. We demonstrate that even if various commercialization theories can sometimes justify patent protection, they cannot justify most NPE lawsuits or licensing demands.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

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Date posted: February 28, 2016 ; Last revised: March 1, 2016

Suggested Citation

Lemley, Mark A. and Feldman, Robin, Patent Licensing, Technology Transfer, & Innovation (February 26, 2016). Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 484. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2738819 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2738819

Contact Information

Mark A. Lemley (Contact Author)
Stanford Law School ( email )
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Robin Feldman
University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )
200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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