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UofW Law Speaker Series: Patent Aggregation, Innovation and Antitrust Law
March 19, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
The presentation analyses the relationship between patent aggregation activities, namely the use of patent portfolios for non-manufacturing purposes, innovation and antitrust from a transatlantic perspective. The increase of ICT technologies applications (e.g. wireless communications and AI) across previously-unrelated industries, such as the automotive and home appliances ones, adumbrates a future where patent aggregation is not only here to stay but spreads evermore. The complexity and distance of patent aggregation from traditional patent exercises prevent a clear assessment of its impact on innovation. On the one hand, patent aggregation activities may spur innovation by determining efficiencies in licensing or litigation and by conveying liquidity to inventors. On the other hand, patent aggregation might also match the patent trolls narrative and unduly tax technological development by enforcing otherwise dormant patents or extract excessive royalty payments in the context of infringement actions. Since the relationship between patent aggregation and innovation is uncertain, it is unsettled whether prominent national antitrust laws can remedy anti-innovative patent aggregation instances as they raise. Against this background, Niccolò first presents his redefinition and taxonomy of patent aggregation and the empirical data he gathered thereupon. Then, he introduces an analytical framework that enables the case-by-case assessment of the impact any given patent aggregation instance has innovation. Finally, the presentation evaluates which remedies are on and off the antitrust tables, particularly those of the EU and Canada, to address the problem of anti-innovative patent aggregation.