Where is the eBay for Intellectual Property?

This paper is an examination of the economics, organizational dynamics and structural factors inhibiting an electronic market for intellectual property.  Several intermediaries exist to facilitate the transition of intellectual property (IP) from sellers to buyers.  Over the past 20 years, a number of companies attempted to create an online “eBay for IP.”  These IP Exchanges (IPEs) failed to gain traction in competition with other mediums that provide channels to facilitate IP transactions.  Compounding the problem is the concentration of intellectual property assets amongst a small group of institutions and within those institutions as well as organizational hurdles inherent in academic technology transfer offices.  As a result, the business model for an online IPE market is fundamentally challenging, and no successful IPE exists to date.

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