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Leverage Intellectual Property: The Value of Harmonized Enforcement Regimes


Heller,  David
MPI for Innovation and Competition, Max Planck Society;

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Gill, A., & Heller, D. (2019). Leverage Intellectual Property: The Value of Harmonized Enforcement Regimes. Proceedings of Paris December 2019 Finance Meeting EUROFIDAI - ESSEC.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-E492-4
This paper analyses the importance of intellectual property in determining capital structure decisions. We argue that firms can use their patent stock as collateral and thereby relax possible debt financing restrictions. Using data from the European Patent Office and balance sheet data of European companies, we find that larger and more valuable patent stocks lead to higher debt-ratios - controlling for well-established capital structure determinants. We further assess variation across as well as within industries and show that effects are mainly driven by tech-oriented and research intensive firms. Drawing on a legislative change in EU- law, allows us to establish a causal relationship between firms' patent portfolio and their use of debt. Results provide a new perspective on optimal capital structure decisions. From a policy perspective, our findings suggest to further harmonize enforcement rules on intellectual property to support financially constrained, innovative firms.