Title

Licensing in the presence of competing technologies

Date of Original Version

1998

Type

Working Paper

Abstract or Description

In technology-based industries, many incumbent firms license their technology to other firms that will potentially compete with them. Such a strategy is difficult to explain within traditional models of licensing. This paper extends the literature on licensing by relaxing the widespread assumption of a ‘unique’ technology holder. We develop a model with many technological trajectories for the production of a differentiated good. We find that competition in the market for technology induces licensing of innovations, and that the number of licenses can be inefficiently large. A strong testable implication of our theory is that the number of licenses per patent holder decreases with the degree of product differentiation.