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Antitrust Limits to Patent Settlements

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  • Shapiro, Carl

Abstract

This paper focuses on the class of legal rules that governs intellectual property rights: the antitrust limits imposed on patent settlements. The paper discusses the benefits and costs of settlements and explains why antitrust limits on settlements are needed to prevent abuse of the settlement process. A general rule for evaluating proposed settlements is developed. This paper explores a simple antitrust rule governing settlements of intellectural property disputes: a settlement cannot lead to lower expected consumer surplus than would have arisen from ongoing litigation. It argues that this rule respects intellectural property rights while encouraging efficient settlements. Under extremely general conditions, there exists a settlement that leaves consumers better off and raises the joint profits of the two firms engaged in the dispute. This general test is then applied to several types of settlements: mergers; agreements specifying the timing of entry; and patent pools.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series with number qt87s5j911.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt87s5j911

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Keywords: intellectual property rights; antitrust; patents; mergers; settlements; patent pools;

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References

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  1. Richard J. Gilbert & Willard K. Tom, 2001. "Is Innovation King at the Antitrust Agencies? The Intellectual Property Guidelines Five Years Later," Industrial Organization 0106002, EconWPA.
  2. Lanjouw, Jean O & Schankerman, Mark, 2001. "Characteristics of Patent Litigation: A Window on Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 129-51, Spring.
  3. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1998. "Stronger protection or technological revolution: what is behind the recent surge in patenting?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 247-304, June.
  4. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1997. "Antitrust Issues in the Licensing of Intellectual Property: The Nine No-No's Meet the Nineties," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1997 Micr), pages 283-349.
  5. Josh Lerner, 2004. "Where Does State Street Lead? First Look at Finance Patents, 1971-2000," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000497, David K. Levine.
  6. Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not)," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
  7. Lanjouw, Jean Olson, 1998. "Patent Protection in the Shadow of Infringement: Simulation Estimations of Patent Value," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 671-710, October.
  8. Schankerman, Mark & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2001. "Damages and Injunctions in Protecting Intellectual Property," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 199-220, Spring.
  9. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1985. "On the Licensing of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 504-520, Winter.
  10. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1996. "Protecting Early Innovators: Should Second-Generation Products Be Patentable?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 322-331, Summer.
  11. Carl Shapiro, 2001. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard Setting," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 119-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Mark Schankerman, 1998. "How Valuable is Patent Protection? Estimates by Technology Field," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 77-107, Spring.
  13. Howard F. Chang, 1995. "Patent Scope, Antitrust Policy, and Cumulative Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 34-57, Spring.
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