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DIME Working Papers series on Intellectual Property Rights 1 - 5

WP1: Emerging Issues in Intellectual Property Right Research

Birgitte Andersen, Birkbeck University of London

The IPR research questions that I believe are emerging, topical and key, are discussed in the following two sections. They address problems in relation to the institutional IPR environment, and Corporate and industry IPR practices, when profiting from inventions and innovations in technology and creative expressions.

WP2: University Research, Intellectual Property Rights and European Innovation Systems

Bart Verspagen, Ecis

This paper surveys the literature on university patenting. From the point of view of the economic theory of patents, it is argued that patenting knowledge developed by university researchers is paradoxical: patents are normally intended to stimulate knowledge development by providing property rights, but universities operate also under a different incentive scheme, i.e., they receive public funds to perform socially useful knowledge.

In the debate surrounding the so-called Bayh-Dole Act in the United States, it has, however, been argued that patents on university inventions may be necessary to stimulate technology transfer from universities to private firms. The first part of the paper addresses two major questions. First, what is the economic logic of Bayh-Dole, and, second, what were the effects on universities and the knowledge they develop.

 In the second part, the paper addresses the issue of whether “Bayh-Dole-like” legislation would be beneficial for European countries. In a number of European countries, a suggestion has been made that this could enhance knowledge transfer from the public to the private sector. Using a new database resulting from a survey among patent inventors in six European countries, an assessment is given of the degree of university patenting in Europe. Because university researchers are often involved in patented inventions without the university being listed as a patent applicant, statistics based on the patent office databases alone often underestimate university patenting in Europe. The paper ends with a discussion of how this “European practice” of university patenting affects public-private knowledge transfer in Europe, and how this compares to the effects of the Bayh-Dole Act in the U.S.

WP3: Technological Knowledge as an Essential Facility

Cristiano Antonelli, Universita' di Torino

The economics of regulation has articulated the notions of essential facility and mandated interconnection Their application to the governance of technological knowledge can be fruitful especially when implemented by the adoption of a compensatory liability rule and the parallel reduction in the exclusivity of patents.

Because knowledge is at the same time an output and an input in the production of new knowledge, exclusivity, traditionally associated to patents, is the cause of actual knowledge rationing with major drawbacks in terms of both static and dynamic efficiency. This institutional innovation can improve the governance of technological knowledge and increase both its rates of dissemination and generation.

Intellectual property rights have a twin effect on the economic system. On the one hand they favor the introduction of new technological knowledge. On the other they reduce competition and eventually may limit the rate of introduction of new knowledge. A trade-off takes place between such positive and negative effects. The application to the economics of knowledge of the notions of essential facility and liability rule can correct the balance of the trade-off and contribute the rate of advance of technological knowledge and its effective use in the economic system. The tuning of exclusive property rights makes it possible to minimize knowledge rents and favor the dissemination and use of knowledge in the economic system taking advantage of its intrinsic cumulability and complementarity.

WP4: Intellectual Property Tools, Standards and Market Positioning

Isabelle Liotard, University of Paris Nord CEPN

WP5: New Approaches to Intellectual Property: from Open Software to Knowledge-based Industrial Activities

Nicolas Jullien, M@RSOUIN/ ENST Bretagne
Jean-Benoît Zimmermann, CNRS/QREQAM et IDEP

We analyse the question of intellectual property in computer software, showing that both copyright and patents do not fit to the specificities and needs of this industry. The alternative model of Open Source Software, based on a very new juridical concept called GPL "General Public Licence", tends to take a growing importance.

We explain its main characteristics, which consist in imposing the producers to disclose of both the source-code of the concerned programmes and any further improvement if they are re-distributed/re-sold. We show that by this process a totally different approach of intellectual property within industrial strategies is introduced, based on a weaker intellectual protection. We discuss the consequences of such a movement in institutional and public policy terms and we enlarge the approach to understand its exemplarity, in the context of a knowledge-based economy, for a growing number of industrial activities.

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