The Department Of Justice, through its Antitrust Division, increasingly has been focusing on cross-licensing and patent pooling. These practices are looming larger on DOJ’s radar screen, even though the department believes that most cross licenses and patent pools are pro-competitive. As Assistant Attorney General Joel I. Klein, who heads the Antitrust Division, has stated, “they help sellers provide consumers with better products and services at lower prices because of benefits ranging from cost savings — due to more efficient production technologies — to improved product quality — resulting from combining complementary inventions.” [FOOTNOTE 1]
DOJ, however, recognizes also that cross licenses can have anticompetitive consequences, including price increases, production cutbacks and reduced innovation. These effects are more likely to result from cross licenses between firms that are competitors in producing goods or services, in licensing intellectual property or in research and development.
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