IPR and markets for technology

Firms not only pay for technology in M&A but also for getting access to critical IPR

Extant literature holds that firm acquisitions create value through innovation if the knowledge bases of the acquirer and the target complement each other. Little is known about the value that patents associated with a target’s knowledge convey to the acquirer, i.e., their value in securing market exclusion and freedom to operate in R&D. We argue that such property rights hold preemptive power allowing firms to capture the value from combining complementary technologies and to realize gains from trade in strategic factor markets. Our results for a sample of 1,428 acquisitions indicate that—controlling for technological value—acquired preemptive power is an important determinant of the acquisition price, particularly when the acquirer is technology intensive and acquired patents are highly related to the acquirer’s knowledge base.

Grimpe, Christoph and Katrin Hussinger (2014), Resource Complementarity and Value Capture in Firm Acquisitions: The Role of Intellectual Property Rights, Strategic Management Journal, 35, 1762-1780.


Patent pre-emption and infringement drives firms to participate in markets for technology

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.

Grimpe, Christoph and Katrin Hussinger (2014), Pre-empted Patents, Infringed Patents, and Firm’s Participation in Markets for Technology, Research Policy, 43, 543-554.