Collective Rights Organizations: A Guide to Benefits, Costs and Antitrust Safeguards

The Cambridge Handbook of Technical Standardization Law, Vol. 1 - Patents and Competition Law (Jorge L. Contreras, ed., New York: Cambridge Univ. Press), Forthcoming

32 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2017 Last revised: 25 Mar 2017

See all articles by Richard Gilbert

Richard Gilbert

University of California, Berkeley

Date Written: January 26, 2017

Abstract

Collective rights organizations (CROs) are patent pools, copyright collectives and cross-licensing arrangements that coordinate the licensing of intellectual property rights. CROs can have efficiency benefits by reducing transaction costs, eliminating royalty stacking and resolving conflicting claims by rights owners. However, CROs also can have potential antitrust risks by raising prices, excluding competition for technology rights or downstream products, shielding weak patents and reducing incentives for innovation. The availability of independent licensing mitigates but does not eliminate the risk of anticompetitive practices by a collective rights organization. Antitrust enforcers should be vigilant about collective rights organizations that may harm competition while also respecting the large benefits that these institutions can create for consumers.

Keywords: patent pools, copyright collectives, cross-licensing, antitrust

JEL Classification: D23, D4, D45, D71, K21, L10, L41, L44, O34

Suggested Citation

Gilbert, Richard, Collective Rights Organizations: A Guide to Benefits, Costs and Antitrust Safeguards (January 26, 2017). The Cambridge Handbook of Technical Standardization Law, Vol. 1 - Patents and Competition Law (Jorge L. Contreras, ed., New York: Cambridge Univ. Press), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2904739

Richard Gilbert (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

Department of Economics
530 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510 642 1507 (Phone)

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