Appropriability and Incentives with Complementary Innovations

Massimo D'Antoni (University of Siena)
Maria Alessandra Rossi (University of Siena)

Abstract: This article analyzes the effects on ex ante incentives to invest in the development of complementary innovations of two alternative appropriability strategies: a strategy of exclusion of third parties from access (through active enforcement of IPRs or technical means) vis-a-vis an openness strategy, i.e. an ex-ante commitment not to exclude. Assuming that the complementary innovations constitute a common input and that agents make complementary investments in its private exploitation, we find that, when complementarities are sufficiently strong, a commitment to openness may provide greater incentives than an exclusion strategy. The theoretical framework is used to provide an interpretation of Open Source Software licenses and the ``Open Science'' system.

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