CiteWeb id: 20150000091

CiteWeb score: 1494

DOI: 10.1086/ipe.1.25056143

In several key industries, including semiconductors, biotechnology, computer software, and the Internet, our patent system is creating a patent thicket: an overlapping set of patent rights requiring that those seeking to commercialize new technology obtain licenses from multiple patentees. The patent thicket is especially thorny when combined with the risk of holdup, namely the danger that new products will inadvertently infringe on patents issued after these products were designed. The need to navigate the patent thicket and holdup is especially pronounced in industries such as telecommunications and computing in which formal standard setting is a core part of bringing new technologies to market. Cross licenses and patent pools are two natural and effective methods used by market participants to cut through the patent thicket, but each involves some transaction costs. Antitrust law and enforcement, with its historical hostility to cooperation among horizontal rivals, can easily add to these transaction c...