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Profit Neutrality in Licensing: The Boundary Between Antitrust Law and Patent Law

  • Maurer, Stephen M.
  • Scotchmer, Suzanne

From the antitrust case law that governs restrictions on patent licenses, we derive three unifying principles: just reward, profit neutrality and minimalism. The just-reward principle holds that the patentholder's profits should be earned, if at all, from the social value created by his invention. Profit neutrality holds that patent rewards should not depend on the rightholder's ability to work the patent himself. Minimalism holds that licensing contracts should not use more restrictive terms than required for neutrality. We discuss how these principles determine which patent license restrictions should and should not be acceptable from an antitrust perspective. We also compare these principles and the per se rules that follow from them to the potential benefits and drawbacks likely to be encountered under a rule of reason approach.

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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 qt6f659351.

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Date of creation: 08 Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt6f659351
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  1. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
  2. Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," CEPR Discussion Papers 392, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ted O'Donoghue & Suzanne Scotchmer & Jacques-François Thisse, 1998. "Patent Breadth, Patent Life, and the Pace of Technological Progress," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, 03.
  4. Shapiro, Carl, 2003. " Antitrust Limits to Patent Settlements," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 391-411, Summer.
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