Systemic Linkages Between Knowledge and the Market
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Blandine Laperche, Dimitri Uzunidis and G. N. von Tunzelmann
Chapter 4: Towards an Integrated Patent System and Innovation Prospects in Europe
Alfredo Ilardi and Blandine Laperche Patenting is as an essential tool for the genesis of innovation, giving incentives to investments by enterprises and stimulating the creativity of a society. ‘The patent system added the fuel of interest to the ﬁre of genius,’ declared Abraham Lincoln.1 Since its origin, it has been an entitlement to property that is spatially well delimited, but the creation of speciﬁc patent systems in each country was soon considered as a barrier to trade. By patent systems we mean, referring to Lévêque and Ménière (2006, p. 11), ‘the set of institutions allowing the application of patent laws in a given geographic area’. The harmonization of patent laws (and more globally of intellectual property rights) has thus been a recurrent question since the end of the 19th century (Ilardi 2005). In this chapter, we study the harmonization of patent laws in Europe, which includes the foreseen creation of an integrated patent: the ‘Community patent’. How can this willingness to harmonize the rules dealing with the ﬁling and grants of patents to create a unique patent in Europe be explained? What has been the institutional history of the emergence of a uniﬁed patent law in Europe? We will argue that this history has been and is still paved with diﬃculties and is the subject of hard negotiations, which show not only the economic but also the political character of the property resulting from inventions. Finally, we defend the idea that...
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