Chapter 6: Costs and Benefits of Patent Systems
1. INTRODUCTION The competition laws and the patent laws provide limited solutions to the patent issues in industry standards, as described in previous chapters. That is, the exceptional circumstances doctrine of competition laws may be applied in those cases where the standards at issue are mandatory or the firm concerned is in a super-dominant position and where a party hoping to obtain licences plans to supply new goods or services which are different from those provided by the patent owner, but it is not likely that the doctrine will be used in other cases. As far as patent laws are concerned, compulsory licences can only be used in limited circumstances and the reverse doctrine of equivalents is not likely to resolve the conflict between patents and standards. Then comes the question of whether there are problems in the solutions provided by existing laws and, if so, whether the existing laws can be modified to provide better solutions. There can be various approaches to these questions. The answer may be sought from the perspective of maximising static efficiencies or promoting market competition. In this book, however, ways to resolve the issues of patents and standards are sought from the perspective of patent laws. That is, it will be sought to find ways to resolve the conflict between patents and standards from the perspective of technological innovation. In order to do so, it is essential to study the functions of patent systems and the costs and benefits of patent systems. By analysing...
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