Thursday, October 15, 2009
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Klaus Schmidt (University of Munich) provides his thoughts on Complementary Patents and Market Structure.
ABSTRACT: Many high technology goods are based on standards that require several essential patents owned by different IP holders. This gives rise to a complements and a double mark-up problem. We compare the welfare effects of two different business strategies dealing with these problems. Vertical integration of an IP holder and a downstream producer solves the double mark-up problem between these firms. Nevertheless, it may raise royalty rates and reduce output as compared to non-integration. Horizontal integration of IP holders solves the complements problem but not the double mark-up problem. Vertical integration discourages entry and reduces innovation incentives, while horizontal integration always benefits from entry and innovation.