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Promoting access to intellectual property: patent pools, copyright collectives, and clearinghouses

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This paper reviews and compares patent pools, intellectual property (IP) clearinghouses, and copyright collectives as systems for promoting efficient access to licensable IP in a ‘market for technology’. These systems promote downstream use of innovations by economizing on search and transaction costs in licensing, as well as potentially mitigating the conditions that lead to the ‘tragedy of the anti-commons’ and other coordination problems in multilateral licensing. We compare and classify different systems in terms of their features, review some existing systems, and discuss their economic characteristics.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University, 2-1 Naka, Kunitachi, Tokyo 186-8603, Japan. ;, Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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