Shared Ownership of Intangible Property Rights: The Case of Patent Coassignments
Christian Helmers, Andrea Fosfuri, and Catherine Roux
We show that the legal rules regarding the ability of co-owners of patents to license the patented technology to third parties have important implications not only for licensing, the diffusion of the patented technology, and hence downstream competition but also for the decision to share ownership in the first place. The legal rules that regulate shared ownership also affect efforts provided by the parties at the invention stage and hence impact the quality of the patented technology. We rely on exogenous legal differences between the United States and Europe concerning the ability of co-owners of patents to license the patented technology to third parties to show that the data are consistent with our theoretical predictions.