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Innovation and the exploitation of intellectual property law


  • Howells, John

    () (Department of Organisation and Management, Aarhus School of Business)


This paper compares documented corporate patent practice with the way the patent institution has been modelled in economics and management writing. In particular, there is common confusion of the patent’s role as a temporary exclusive development right (correct) and the idea that the patent is a temporary economic monopoly (possible, but often not the case). This difference is important for the judgement of whether the strategy of innovation suppression can take place. A number of examples of patenting practice presented in the management literature (Dunford 1987) are shown to be examples of the development of a workable prospect rather than the abuse of the patent system to suppress innovation. The problem with the patent institution is then, not the abuse of patent-protected monopoly, but the potential for abuse of the legal machinery of the patent system. Examples of such abuse are given, including lobbying efforts to change the law to favour private control over the public interest function of intellectual property law.

Suggested Citation

  • Howells, John, 2003. "Innovation and the exploitation of intellectual property law," Working Papers 2003-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhb:aardom:2003_004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kitch, Edmund W, 1977. "The Nature and Function of the Patent System," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 265-290, October.
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    Patenting practice; Innovation; Intellectual property law;

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