License to Learn: An Investigation into Thin and Thick Licensing Contracts

15 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2016

See all articles by M. Isabella Leone

M. Isabella Leone

LUMSA University

Toke Reichstein

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics

Paolo Boccardelli

Luiss Guido Carli University - Department of Business and Management

Mats Magnusson

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Date Written: March 2016

Abstract

This article introduces the distinction between thin and thick contracts to the investigation of licensing‐in as a mechanism for technological learning. Thick contracts include a clause specifying that the licensors are obligated to assist the licensees in assimilating and integrating the technology. Drawing on a sample of 133 licensees and an equal number of matched nonlicensees, we present empirical evidence that thick contracts propel the licensees’ likelihood of introducing new inventions. It is also found that thick contracts act as a substitute for licensees’ absorptive capacity. Licensees that are more familiar with the licensed technology are in less need of assistance from the licensors to assimilate and integrate the knowledge. However, this substitution effect is neutralized once the hurdle of invention has been overcome, meaning that the licensees have succeeded to ignite the invention process, suggesting the exploitation of the learning curve, triggered by their mutual understanding.

Suggested Citation

Leone, Maria Isabella and Reichstein, Toke and Boccardelli, Paolo and Magnusson, Mats, License to Learn: An Investigation into Thin and Thick Licensing Contracts (March 2016). R&D Management, Vol. 46, Issue 2, pp. 326-340, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2731438 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/radm.12187

Maria Isabella Leone (Contact Author)

LUMSA University ( email )

Via Pompeo Magno 22
Roma, Rome 00192
Italy

Toke Reichstein

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics ( email )

Kilevej 14A
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark

Paolo Boccardelli

Luiss Guido Carli University - Department of Business and Management ( email )

Via Salvini, 3
Rome, 00198
Italy

Mats Magnusson

KTH Royal Institute of Technology ( email )

Lindstedtsvägen 30-100 44
Stockholm, SE-100 44
Sweden

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
258
PlumX Metrics