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The Scope Of Intellectual Property Rights and their Interface with Competition Law and Policy: Divergent Paths to the Same Goal?

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In this paper, we look at the interface between competition law and policy and intellectual property rights (IPRs) and we draw attention to a number of specific issues which have arisen in recent years and some of the conflicting costs and benefits of IPRs for competition (mainly in the context of sequential innovation) and economic efficiency. We show that if competition policy and IPRs are complementary means of promoting innovation, technical progress and economic growth to the benefit of consumers, these common goals, however, are pursued by different instruments Thus, a balance between these two different instruments, apparently in conflict, has to be found. In particular, we consider the extent to which competition law should impinge on the use of rights once granted and we examine whether and to what extent competition policies should consider the question of incentives for innovation is a key aspect of evaluating the competitive effects of IPRs licences.

Keywords: Antitrust policy; Innovation; Intellectual property rights

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Rennes I-CREREG-CNRS, 7 Place Hoche, F-35065 Rennes Cedex. T: E-mail: 2: University of Sussex, School of European Studies, Brighton BN1 9QN7, UK

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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