Table of Contents

Patent Law and Theory

Patent Law and Theory

A Handbook of Contemporary Research

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Toshiko Takenka

This major Handbook provides a comprehensive research source for patent protection in three major jurisdictions: the United States, Europe and Japan. Leading patent scholars and practitioners join together to give an innovative comparative analysis both of fundamental issues such as patentability, examination procedure and the scope of patent protection, and current issues such as patent protection for industry standards, computer software and business methods. Keeping in mind the important goal of world harmonization, the contributing authors challenge current systems and propose necessary changes for promoting innovation.

Chapter 26: Patenting Industry Standards

Vincent F. Chiappetta

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, innovation and technology, knowledge management, law - academic, intellectual property law


Vincent F. Chiappetta Introduction Patents and industry standards are economic double-edged swords. Properly wielded they enhance efficient market performance, but when deployed with inadequate care they become powerful engines for monopoly profits. When patents control access to an industry standard, achieving the proper balance becomes an extremely complex and challenging task.1 This chapter examines the evolving legal effort to help get that outcome ‘just right’.2 Two key considerations guide the appropriate legal response to patent capture of an industry standard. First, patents and standards inherently conflict. Standards generally contemplate benefits from widespread adoption, which patent law intentionally constrains to foster its objectives. Legal regulation of their co-existence, therefore, must distinguish between the patent system’s legitimate competitive costs and those that go beyond. Second, standardization can come about in different ways – ex post from accumulated market transactions over time or ex ante as either the intentional joint creation of industry participants or in the form of a government mandate. These varying sources raise distinct practical and policy concerns, and so a one-size legal approach does not fit all. 1 The same issues arise with regard to other kinds of intellectual property rights, such as copyrights on software code or trade-secret enhancements of related processes. Cf. Pamela Samuelson, Questioning Copyrights in Standards, 48 B. C. L. REV. 193 (2007) (discussing the capture problem when governments adopt privately drafted standards subject to copyright protection). Patent law’s uniquely powerful exclusionary right makes patent capture of particularly significant concern. 2 See, e.g., U.S. DEP’T OF...

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