A Comparative Review of New Developments
New Directions in Patent Law series
Edited by Emanuela Arezzo and Gustavo Ghidini
Emanuela Arezzo and Gustavo Ghidini In the last and present century patent law has confronted itself with several critical issues. Emerging new technologies have seemingly shaken some of the very foundations of the system, modelled to accommodate the needs of the industrial sectors which emerged during the first industrial revolution. Thus, many commentators began to wonder whether it was still appropriate to maintain the traditional paradigm as it is, exclusively based on exclusive rights. In the new millennium, not only have new sectors emerged but each one has developed its own features with regard to its own innovation process and the kind of output produced. Often the inventive process develops through a cumulative and incremental path, leading to small improvements built upon the knowledge entangled into previous innovations, rather than a sudden breakthrough innovation. Often, too, such inventive process leads to results which lie closer to pure knowledge than applied research. What is the role patent system plays in such a scenario? In particular, considering the different dynamics of innovation among ‘old’ and ‘new’ technological sectors – such as ITs and biotechnologies – should such a role be the same across all industries? Put another way, is the classical formula ‘one size fits all’ still appropriate for a twenty-first century patent system? These questions have been posed and examined in the first two chapters of this book, respectively by Dan Burk and Mark Lemley, and by Valeria Falce. In addressing such questions, it remains crucial not to lose track of the baseline...