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
Date Written: January 26, 2017
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
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