Access to Intellectual Property for Innovation: Evidence on Problems and Coping Strategies from German Firms

38 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2010

See all articles by Elisabeth Mueller

Elisabeth Mueller

German Graduate School of Management and Law

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)

Date Written: December 1, 2010

Abstract

Transaction costs and contracting problems associated with proliferation of patents may have a negative impact on innovation. We present novel data on the frequency with which innovative German firms encounter problems with access to intellectual property (IP) for innovation. While only a small percentage of all firms report halting or not starting innovation projects because of IP issues, larger fractions report taking actions such as modifying projects or use of "coping mechanisms" such as acquisition or exchange of IPR in the market for technology. Much of this activity is concentrated in firms which are larger, more R&D intensive, and have more patents. Firms operating in technology areas in which IP ownership is more concentrated appear to be better able to prevent problems of access to IP from arising by using coping mechanisms, suggesting that transacting in the market for technology may be less costly where ownership of IP is less fragmented. Interestingly we find no evidence that problems of access to IP are more severe in the complex/cumulative industries where patent thickets are thought to present the most serious challenges.

Keywords: access to intellectual property, patents, innovation

JEL Classification: O34, O31

Suggested Citation

Mueller, Elisabeth and Cockburn, Iain M. and MacGarvie, Megan, Access to Intellectual Property for Innovation: Evidence on Problems and Coping Strategies from German Firms (December 1, 2010). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2010-042. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1718408 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1718408

Elisabeth Mueller (Contact Author)

German Graduate School of Management and Law ( email )

Bildungscampus 2
Heilbronn, 74076
Germany

Iain M. Cockburn

Boston University Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States
617-353-3775 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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

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