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Institutions, not only enforcement, key to generating growth through patent market coordination

Why are inventors willing to take more risk in searching for new, more productive technology? This article examines coordination between inventors inventing and innovators in need for and using new patented technology, using an economic experiment.

The results indicate that the institutional arrangements matter more than enforcement in this learning process. In particular increased flexibility in demand side bidding yields higher willingness to search. This has implications on patent trade policy: Both the institutional and enforcement has to be considered in order to get a good selection process of what inventions to further invest in.

Read article for free here or download from Journal of the Knowledge Economy here.

Risk Management and the strategic role of services and IP in today’s economy

How should services be priced? This article outlines five steps towards a service logic driven by changes in IP and deregulation of major economic activities.

Article was published in Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance in 2002 and  can be found at Geneva Associations.


Ullberg, 2002, Risk Management

Transatlantic workshop on patent markets with EC – key issues discussed

Several fundamental issues were discussed during a one-day trans-atlantic workshop in Brussels on March 3, 2016, with representatives from top patent licensing firms in the world and EU as well as US policy makers. The aim was to identify current and emerging issues in the patent market that could merit further research efforts funded by agencies – and firms – promoting innovation.

– Key topics were (i) incentives to take on the high risks in inventions – mechanisms to manage them -, (ii) basic awareness and knowledge building among politicians, SMEs, academia and general public on the value of inventions and the relation of the patent system as well as (iii) a continued professional dialogue at practitioner and policy level. As one participant commented: “Inventions are important, but we are beginning to loose the [policy] battle”.

– Most importantly the general awareness problem on mechanismsencouraging risk taking, the value of inventions and the patent system merited topics for further investigation and policy discussion.

– Markets in patent (transactions not only protection four) would be such an area that would help firms manage their risks better by providing a broader and deeper market access for patented technologies.

Summary report

A summary report is included with some tentative conclusion and  focus for further investigation.

Workshop 2

A follow-up transatlantic workshop is planned, focusing on SME-exchange in patents (with large firms and other SMEs). This workshop is tentatively planned to be in the USA.

for more info, and to follow this project please take a look at http://report.ullberg.biz

Eskil Ullberg, PhD



Summary report: EC Workshop – How patent market can create growth

Workshop report: Report of discussion with patent market practitioners Brussels, 3 March 2016

Workshop background document: How can patent markets enable growth – State-of-Play 2016

How can Patent Markets Enable Growth? – a Trans-Atlantic Workshop with the European Commission and Vinnova

A transatlantic workshop has been organised together with the European Commission with global corporate practitioners, policymakers from EC/SME & GROWTH and the US Trade Commission, European and other Patent Offices, and selected experts in the field of patenting, licensing among others, to identify and prioritize issues towards a market in patents. Special focus will also be given to SME/individual firms and new markets, especially North-South and emerging markets. The results of the workshop will be considered as input for further studies and policy proposals in this area. The workshop will be held in Brussels on March 3, 2016.

If you are interested in the follow-up information from this event, please contact by email or sign up for the ullberg report. There may also be the opportunity to listen in on a webcast for select interested parties.

Eskil Ullberg, PhD


What are the issues?

The international trade flows have changed direction in the last few years, where the South is now the net buyer of the products and services from the North[1]. This has happened thanks to opening of markets, trade negotiations, better economic policies, etc. However, when it comes to technology exchange with patents, the markets are not that developed. An intense focus on enforcement has dominated the discussions, in a one-sided protection agenda, more than trade, creating a litigation market with courts clearing prices. This appears to be similar at national levels between firms, especially large versus SME/individual or rent seeking firms abusing the patent system, hindering efficient trade in ideas between firms. To remedy this deficiency we are organizing a workshop focusing on transactions, in particular the mechanisms for exchange in patented technology. This is not only beneficial for today’s larger firms already engaged in this market but SME/individuals and the new markets, especially the mentioned North-South exchange and emerging markets.

Experimental research on markets in patents indicate that a more impersonal, or open, market in patents with demand side bidding and trading intermediaries may double the use of patented technology in the economy compared to today, i.e. a development in economic efficiency.

The workshop may therefore bring forth valuable input on issues – and priorities – from practitioners, patent offices and EU and US policy makers, on how to facilitate such an open market in patents, aiming at creating a strategic transatlantic initiative to inform policy.

[1] Ref. to Michael Spence in 2010/2011. In GDP terms emerging markets and the developing world are slightly more than 50% of world GDP. GDP growth rate Q3 2015 of emerging markets 4.2% (with China at 6.2%) and developing world 1.6%, indicating that this trend will continue for years if not decades or a century given a population of 6b today compared to 1b of the North. Source: JP Morgan.

[2] See  Ullberg, Trade in Ideas (2012) : Chapter 3 (performance and behavioral properties of patent market institutions), 4 (coordination between specialized firms through markets with prices as signaling of technology investments) and 6 (policy conclusions and proposals).

Stanford University Conference on US Patent System



This conference is a part of  the Hoover IP2 Working Group, working to review the premises of the US patent system and to address questions of scope, specification, duration, and economic impact of that system.  The working group two very fundamental questions: Does the US patent system hold up or push forward the commercialization of technological innovations? and Does the US patent system frustrate or facilitate the inventive acivities and entrepreneurial processes central to economic growth?

During the conference held Monday–Tuesday, January 11–12, 2016 as services working papers were presented and discussed. I had the great honor to present a paper on the fundamental issue of trust and patents markets entitled: “The Language of Trust and Reciprocity in Patent Markets: A Sociological Analysis of Property Rights on Messages Resolving Uncertainty in Exchange in Ideas”.

The papers can be found at:

Hoover paper logo

GMU 2010-

Affiliation with George Mason University and the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science since 2010.

Visiting Senior Research Scholar 2010-2014. Assistant Professor 2011-2014, Adjunct Professor from 2015 to today.

George Mason University

Welcome to The Ullberg Report!

This report aims to serve policy makers, economists, and business and university communities and individuals, interested in developing their economies by the exchange of human ideas. (from intro to Trade In Ideas)

At the heart of economic development is technology, providing the solutions that increase productivity in the use of resources. Through the patent system – first established in 1474 and today covering the developed and most developing nations – technology has become tradable in its own rights and we can therefore expect growth in technology to increase by policies designed to create incentives for such trade. These markets are selection mechanisms to help inventors, investors and innovators invest further in the most economically useful technology for the future: Energy, food and information technology being critical in our time.

– The report covers topics related to economic development and the patent system and welcomes suggestions on topics from readers.

– Issues include North-South exchange in technology based on the patent system as a trade system and a higher education agenda.

– The report is free and you can easily sign up using the form on the right side of the home page.

The report’s aims

The report aims at providing a source for policy information on the role of the patent system in economic development, including North-South exchange in technology. The report is based on an ECONOMIC view of the patent system, analyzing current events and, hopefully, providing clarifying information, knowledge and experience in applying a range of economic policy options. The report may therefore be useful for policy makers, government officials, businesses as well as the financial community concerned with funding the next generation of innovations and economic development.

You are welcome to sign up to the report by adding your email. You may also add a special interest, such as news on the proposed Trade In Ideas project of North-South integration through exchange in technology; or discuss topics of interest to your business, nation or inventive activity.

We will start with current research and initiatives for information and then develop the report from there.

Yours truly,

Eskil Ullberg

IFN Brown Bag

On Jan 19, 11:30-12:30, I have been invited to speak at brown-bag seminar at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics, IFN, Grevgatan 34, in Stockholm.

The topic will be Trade In Ideas – Performance and Behavioral Properties of Markets in Patents, covering research published in the book with the same name. The research explores the institutional behavior of organized markets in contacts on patents, based on two economic experiments done at ICES, George Mason University.

A short discussion non institutional and taxation policy in relation to the digital economy will be part of the talk.


All Welcome!

Eskil Ullberg

RATIO 2015-2016

Senior Research Scholar at The Ratio Institute, an independent research institute in Stockholm from Jan 2015-Jun 2016.


The institute’s mission is to develop and distribute new knowledge about (i) the conditions for enterprise – laws, rules and values – , (ii) entrepreneurship, the market economy and growth and (iii) how political change can be achieved.

Book release Dec 2014: New Perspectives on Internationalization and Competitiveness — Integrating Economics, Innovation and Higher Education

Which comes first in a global world economic system: internationalization or internal market competitiveness? Answers to such a broad question demands an interdisciplinary discussion and a more integrated view today, of economics, innovation and higher education.

This book is about the integration of science and technology in an increasingly international and competitive environment for firms, universities and nations. Two workshops were held to discuss internationalization and competitiveness. The purpose was to identify basic problems, i.e. extant in several disciplines, which could help in better integrating economics, innovation and higher education. Fields covering policy and its measurement across economics, strategy, higher education and new research methods where discussed in one joint forum allowing for multiple angles to this over arching theme. Nine papers, which make up a chapter each, are summarized to give a first overview, and four identified basic problems: the including of time to think in economic theory, i.e. creative and operational processes, universities as economic actors, strategic dimension of team work, and agency in measuring innovation. In particular the integration of global markets (including emerging markets), invention/innovation and higher education attracted special interest among participants. The introduction is a first take on these basic problems, which are also inputs to future interdisciplinary research projects, whose results in turn are input to policy and its measurement, and better theoretical economic understanding. The hope is thus that a further discussion will follow, through other publications.


Welcome to participate in the discussion!

Eskil Ullberg, PhD


From the back
This excellent collection of essays provides new insights as to how the development and diffusion of knowledge are facilitating convergence in the structure of research organizations across the globe — a process that has enormous implications for how actors in all parts of the world compete with one another in an increasing array of arenas. 

The essays have valuable implications for understanding how producers of all kinds of knowledge across the globe are competing with one another and how geographical space and nation states are less important in the competition for novelty.

Rogers Hollingsworth
University of Wisconsin (Madison)
University of California San Diego
From Introduction (Springer preview)

This book is about the integration of science and technology in an increasingly
international and competitive environment for firms, universities and nations.
Science is here referring to higher education and research. Technology is referring
to technical solutions (which may be patented, trade secrets or “open source”) and
its application in new product and service innovations. What tie these topics together
are economics and their respective measurement, hence the subtitle: integrating
economics, innovation and higher education. This scope makes the book an input to
today’s global socio-economic development in terms of policy and measurement.

The articles and idea papers were originally discussed using a workshop format
to present in an interdisciplinary fashion, areas of current research and thought
related to internationalization and competitiveness with the aim of identifying basic
problems–problems extant in all disciplines–to inform new research projects which
in turn could inform policy.
The contributions to the first workshop were intended to include disciplines from:
economics, higher education, strategic cooperation and culture. In the follow-up
workshop which built on the findings from the first workshop, in particular the strategies,
take a look at those strategies adopted by businesses and governments for institutional
development, emerging market development, faculty entrepreneurship and
Big Data as a research method. (Unfortunately, the culture theme was not possible to
cover in the end. It was replaced by a scientific “culture” of methodologies.)
The papers are organized in two main sections: science and economics, and innovation
policy and its measurement. Within each section are first the policy related
papers and then the measurement related. The 9 papers–a selection from 27 presentations
from both workshops–include 4 with policy focus and 5 with measurement
focus. The structure of the book was inspired by D. North (1981) who contends that
“the second economic revolution” was the integration of science and technology.
A range of problems were discussed during and after the workshops and a few
initial basic problems were identified. These are certainly only a beginning of a long
list and, hopefully, many more basic problems will be identified by the readers of
this book. They are, in short:
1. Time to think: A better balance between the creative process and operational
process, to allow for new solutions to be created. People need “time to think”, to
create “new” which is in contrast to activities on the margin in operations of
2. Higher education as economic agents: Policy implications of universities as
input to economic development, in close, international, cooperation with economic
and government agents.
3. Agency in measurement of innovation: Behavioral properties of institutions for
efficiency that includes entrepreneurship. Study of “people x institutions”, not
only institutions needed to include human behavior in policy analysis.
4. The Strategic Dimension of Team work: Diversification of ideas as a new measure:
A structural element that structures higher education and research in more
interdisciplinary ways that facilitates international cooperation, but also between
firms, universities and government, creating increased competitiveness.
The key discussions in each paper, and their relation into this bigger picture of
analysis, are now summarized, after which an outline is presented of each of the
initial basic problems.

The Ullberg Report

Subscribe to the Ullberg Report using the form to the right. The report covers patent system and economic policy issues and is free.

The Ullberg Report


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