Smart contracts for IP licensing


Developing innovations for the digital economy, such as IoT devices and connected mobility solutions is likely to require OEMs to combine IP from multiple sources (licensors) who exploit their IP to as many as possible licensees (other OEMs). Those involved in the provision of what we call distributed multi-IP solutions (d-mIPs) find themselves entangled in a complex many-to-many network or ‘licensing web’ having to operate payments based on licensing contracts under a variety of terms and conditions.




In the digital economy and ‘pro-licensing era’ efficiently operating licensing payments to/from multiple licensors/licensees becomes increasingly mission-critical. Unfortunately, the current semi-manual processes are inherent of information asymmetries, uncertainties, trust problems and transaction costs, hence must be considered as inefficient. This project explores the challenges licensees and licensors face when operating licensing payments for d-mIPs.


We are interested in automated licensing payment systems (ALPS) based on distributed ledger technologies and smart contracts for automating trustworthy licensing payments that can substantially reduce currently existing challenges. Those systems not only contributes to enabling the digital economy, but have further potential to enable new business models.


Related publications


Fletcher, S. and F. Tietze (forthcoming). Automating licensing payments for connected devices – A techno-economic analysis of DLT based systems. Blockchain: a managerial perspective for industry. F. Urmetzer, Springer.

Tietze, F. and O. Granstrand (2019). Enabling the digital economy - distributed ledger technologies for automating IP licensing payments. Managing Innovation in a Global and Digital World - Meeting Societal Challenges and Enhancing Competitiveness. R. Tiwari and S. Buse, Springer Gabler.


Project lead: Dr Frank Tietze

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