Innovation, Competition and Consumer Welfare in Intellectual Property Law

Innovation, Competition and Consumer Welfare in Intellectual Property Law

Gustavo Ghidini

This authoritative book provides a comprehensive critical overview of the basic IP paradigms, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights. Their intersection with competition law and their impacts on the exercise of social welfare are analysed from an evolutionary perspective.

Preface to Intellectual Property and Competition Law

Giuliano Amato

Subjects: law - academic, competition and antitrust law, intellectual property law

Extract

1 J.H. Reichman Professor Gustavo Ghidini has undertaken a searching study of the way the European intellectual property system is evolving away from pro-competitive premises that underlie the classic patent and copyright paradigms in response to strong protectionist pressures (and relentless special-interest lobbying) that have accompanied the integration of markets at both the regional and global levels. Alarmed by what he finds, Ghidini reminds us at the outset that intellectual property rights are not ends in themselves. Properly conceived, they are instruments for preserving and enhancing that system of free enterprise and free competition that finally replaced the ‘guild’ and ‘corporate’ models of the not too distant past. Viewed from this perspective, Ghidini warns that more intellectual property rights, and especially too much of the wrong kind of intellectual property rights, may cumulatively yield unacceptably high social costs by compromising the competitive ethos whose tenets were embodied in Italy’s post-war economic constitution. With these tenets in mind, he proceeds to evaluate the far-reaching reforms of recent years, which have aligned the European Union member countries’ intellectual property laws with the harmonising directives of the European Commission and with the international minimum standards of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (‘TRIPs Agreement’). His project is to determine the extent to which the product of these reforms remains consistent with the fundamental goal of promoting free competition. Have the reformers preserved an appropriate balance of public and private interests that suitably accommodates that goal? Or have...