1 Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics, Copenhagen Business School2 Universität Luxembourg
In recent years, firms have increasingly contributed to and been confronted with a patent landscape characterized by numerous but marginal inventions, overlapping claims and patent fences. As a result, firms risk their patent applications to be pre-empted or to be infringed upon by rivals. While both aspects constitute major challenges for the appropriation of returns to inventive activity, extant literature suggests that participation in the market for technology might actually resolve or at least alleviate these problems. In this paper, we investigate the effect of pre-empted and infringed patents on firms’ engagement in in- and cross-licensing. Based on a sample of more than 1100 German manufacturing firms our results show that firms engage in in-licensing as a reaction to pre-empted patents and in cross-licensing if their protected IP was infringed upon. However, these effects vary depending on the fragmentation of technology fields and whether the firm operates in a discrete or complex product industry.