The Role of Patents in Information and Communication Technologies. A Survey of the Literature
32 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2018
Date Written: May 29, 2018
During the last few decades, the number of patents in information and communication technologies has increased considerably. An increasing number of patents and the associated fragmentation of IP rights have generated a series of potentially problematic consequences. Patent thickets, royalty stacking, the emergence of patent assertion entities, increased patent litigation – particularly around standard essential patents – and the difficulties with defining fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms are some of the most debated issues in the literature that we review in this paper. We devote a specific section of our survey to patent quality, currently one of the most debated issues surrounding the patent system. In our analysis we mix theoretical and empirical arguments with a more policy-oriented reasoning. This allows us to better position the different issues in the relevant political and economic context.
Keywords: patents, ICTs, cumulative innovation, FRAND, market for ideas, software
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