I recently came across an OCED report from last December on The Emerging Patent Marketplace written by Tomoya Yanagisawa and Dominique Guellec. The paper covers some of the same ground as our two working papers: Intangible Asset Monetization: The Promise and the Reality and Maximizing Intellectual Property and Intangible Assets: Case Studies in Intangible Asset Finance. The studies start at a very different place, however. Whereas our papers come at the issue from the financing and financial markets perspective, the OECD paper starts from the rise of open innovation and the need for knowledge flows. From that perspective, the report sees the role of IP intermediaries — brokers, analytic specialists, trading platforms, etc. — as key. They also see public policy as playing an important, and balanced role:
In order to facilitate the circulation of IP and promote innovation, it will be very important that policy makers maintain the order of the IP markets by carefully prohibiting anti-innovative activities, in addition to encouraging the development of markets for IP and businesses of IP-specialist firms. Since the characteristics of each IP exploitation activity regarded as anti-innovative are varied and differ in each case, there doesn’t seem to be a specific policy that can prohibit all anti-innovative patent exploitation activities. Therefore policy makers should develop comprehensive policies which include actions in various policy areas such as IP regime, competition and tax policy. In particular policy makers should explore ways of: enhancing transparency and predictability of IPR transactions (e.g. establishing a shared understanding of reasonable market prices by encouraging the disclosure of patent licensing and sales information); strengthening trust in technology transactions by securing the quality of patents; establishing properly tuned regulations against anti-innovative activities in IPR marketplaces (e.g. finding appropriate competition enforcement policies with respect to IPR transactions, and finding appropriate patent remedy policies).
As befits its title, the report is very IP-centric in it view. It does not look at whether patents are the best way of transferring knowledge. The OECD has a “knowledge markets” project underway to look at the broader range of knowledge diffusion mechanisms. I am looking forward to the findings of that broader inquiry.