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Patent thickets may inefficiently retard cumulative innovation. This paper explores two alternative mechanisms that may be used to weed out patent thickets. Both mechanisms are intended to reduce the number of patents in our society. The first mechanism we discuss is price based regulation of patents through a system of increasing renewal fees. The second and more innovative mechanism is quantity based regulation through the establishment of a system of Tradable Patent Rights. The formalization of tradable patent rights would essentially create a secondary market for patent permits in which patent protection will be bought and sold.


permits, thickets, license fees, licensing, social costs, infringement, renewal fees, tragedy of the commons, enforcement

Publication Title

Stanford Law Review

Publication Citation

60 Stan. L. Rev. 863 (2007)