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. Literature suggests that both the fragmentation of ownership and the threat of a firm's patent applications being blocked by competitors' patents lead to increased patenting and inlicensing activity. In this paper, we investigate the effect of expected blocking on firms' engagement in in- and out-licensing. Based on a sample of more than 400 German manufacturing firms our results show that firms engage in in- and out-licensing if technology competition increases which is in line with the argument that licensing can mitigate hold-up problems in technology markets.
Licensing blocking patents discrete and complex technologies technology competition