This morning the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced its award of the 2016 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel to Oliver D. Hart of Harvard and Bengt Holmström of MIT for their work in contract theory. Here is a link to the press release, which in turn has links to "Popular Science Background" and "Science Background" papers. Hart (along with Oliver Williamson, the winner of the 2009 prize) is one of the leading theorists of incomplete contracts, holdup, and opportunism, which as readers of this blog are aware is of central importance today in the field of patent law (particularly with regard to standard-essential patents). Holmström's work on principal-agent problems is cited in relation to, among other things, the division of rewards for intellectual property between employers and employee-inventors, as in this article by Rob Merges. Both Hart and Holmström are also cited in the literature on firm structure and IP, as in this paper by Burk and McDonnell.
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