Research Papers

  • Allocating Patent Litigation Risk Across the Supply Chain

    Michael J. Meurer

    Although the paradigmatic defendant in a patent infringement lawsuit is a vertically integrated manufacturer, modern supply chains now include many different businesses, each of which must contemplate the risk of patent infringement when entering into the contracts to form those chains. This paper provides some guidance on best practices for terms of indemnification agreements that address both efficient risk management and effective bargaining against a patent-plaintiff.

  • How Essential are Standard-Essential Patents?

    Mark Lemley and Timothy Simcoe

    This paper explores what happens when standard-essential patents (SEPs) go to court. The authors found that, contrary to their expectations, SEPs are more likely to be held valid than non-SEP patents, but they are significantly less likely to be infringed. In other words, SEPs, once in court, do not seem to be all that essential. One cause, the authors found, comes from the assertion of SEP patent rights by so-called patent trolls, which has implications in policy debates over both SEPs and patent trolls.

  • Value Migration and Industry 4.0: Theory, Field Evidence, and Propositions

    Susan Helper, Raphael Martins, Robert Seamans

    This paper offers several predictions about how Industry 4.0 – the coordinated use of robots, sensors, AI, and other digitally-enabled technologies in manufacturing – will affect which firms and occupations capture value in manufacturing. Using in-depth interviews with manufacturers that are part of the automotive value chain, the authors find that value migration within firms likely affects whether and how value migration occurs across firms.

  • Upstream, Downstream: Diffusion and Impact of the Universal Product Code

    Emek Basker and Timothy Simcoe

    This paper presents an in-depth quantitative analysis of the diffusion and impacts of the Universal Product Code (UPC). The authors find evidence of two-sided network effects in the diffusion process, and that employment and trademark registrations increase following UPC adoption by manufacturers or wholesalers. The findings suggest that barcodes, scanning, and related technologies helped stimulate variety-enhancing product innovation and encourage the growth of international retail supply chains.

  • Information Technology & Industry Concentration

    James Bessen

    Since the 1980s, US industries have become increasingly dominated by large firms across almost all sectors. Why? One possibility is that large firms have become dominant because antitrust authorities have allowed too many mergers and acquisitions. James Bessen explores another possibility: that leading firms have been better at harnessing information technology (IT) for competitive advantage, allowing them to grow faster.

    Research Summary: Why are large firms becoming more dominant?

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