Patent Thickets, Licensing and Innovative Performance

39 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2009 Last revised: 8 Oct 2013

See all articles by Iain M. Cockburn

Iain M. Cockburn

Boston University Questrom School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Megan MacGarvie

Boston University School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Elisabeth Mueller

German Graduate School of Management and Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

We examine the relationship between fragmented intellectual property (IP) rights and innovative performance, taking into consideration the role played by in-licensing of IP. Controlling for a variety of firm and market characteristics, we find that firms facing more fragmented IP landscapes are more likely to report expenditures on in-licensing and for those firms that do incur license costs we find a weak positive association between licensing expenditure and fragmented IP rights in the relevant technology. We also observe a negative relationship between IP fragmentation and innovative performance, but only for firms that engage in in-licensing and only for product innovation. The relationship between fragmentation and innovative performance also depends on the size of a firm's patent portfolio, which suggests an important strategic role for defensive patenting in the context of fragmented property rights.

Keywords: patent thickets, licensing, innovative performance

JEL Classification: O34, O31

Suggested Citation

Cockburn, Iain M. and MacGarvie, Megan and Mueller, Elisabeth, Patent Thickets, Licensing and Innovative Performance (2008). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 08-101; Boston U. School of Management Research Paper No. 2009-7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1328844 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1328844

Iain M. Cockburn (Contact Author)

Boston University Questrom School of Business ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Megan MacGarvie

Boston University School of Management ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Elisabeth Mueller

German Graduate School of Management and Law ( email )

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