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Department

Intellectual Property and Competition Law

The aims of the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law lie in fundamental research of current, future-oriented questions surrounding the protection of intellectual property, such as inventions or creations as well as the regulation of competition mechanisms and behavior. The point of departure in defining the Institute's research topics are primarily phenomenological questions from which specific, long-term examined fields of researchare formed. Within these fields of research, the Institute determines mid-term variable main areas of researchwithin which various types of partially interdisciplinary research projects are located.

 

Field of Research
Intellectual property law and competition law between the marketplace and regulation

 

Main Area of Research
Legal and economic framework of the pharmaceutical industry

 

Main Area of Research
The Music Market

 

Main Area of Research
Legal and economic framework of markets for information goods and for information technology

 

Main Area of Research
Sport

 

Field of Research
The coherence of intellectual property law with competition policy

 

Recent developments in intellectual property law are characterised by two seemingly opposite trends. On the one hand, the individual fields have become increasingly compartmentalised. For instance, patent protection for pharmaceutical inventions must respond to structural conditions which are quite different from the area of mechanical engineering, and traditional copyright law in the area of the fine arts has little in common with copyright protection of software. Conducting high-end research in these areas requires a strong degree of specialisation, whereby it is increasingly difficult to monitor the unity and coherence of the entire legal area.

On the other hand, there is an increasing inclination towards overlaps, both as regards the possibility for one and the same object to attract cumulative protection based on different laws and regarding the legal objectives underlying the granting of protection in the individual disciplines. Motivations of an overarching character, such as protection of financial investment, have become a primary rationale on which protection is based, with the result that the original borderlines between the different fields of intellectual property are eroded, and the rights expand into adjacent areas. Adding to the problem is the fact that the impetus of those developments concerns primarily the question whether protection should be extended, instead of how it is to be tailored. As a rule, no comprehensive examination takes place that would lead to a balancing as regards the content of this cross-discipline expansion of rights within systems of IP law and in relation to competition policy as a whole. Similar problems have cropped up in the relationship between IP law and the law against unfair competition as well as between the latter and antitrust law. The control of competition actions on the basis of the standard of fairness, which allows intervention inter alia against parasitic imitation and consumer confusion caused by similar marks, may significantly strengthen the protection for intangible subject matter, thereby forcing the question of coherence of the system of IP law and its relation to competitive freedom. The protection of fair competition must, furthermore, not undermine the objectives of antitrust law; rather, it must compliment this in a way that emphasises the particularities of IP law and competition policy respectively.

The extent and impact of these developments must be examined. This pertains to the parameters of a meaningful differentiation up to a possible revision of the established classification of various disciplines in IP law as well as the determination of the general framework for a unified system, which would correct disfunctionalities and react to manifest protection needs in a flexible manner, and which would ensure a balancing of interests.

Main Area of Research
Exploring differences and commonalities in the intellectual property system

 

Main Area of Research
Overlaps

 

Main Area of Research
Coherency of IP Rights and Unfair Competition Law

 

Main Area of Research
Coherency of Antitrust Law and Unfair Competition Law

 

Field of Research
Promotion of innovation through intellectual property law and competition law

 

Main Area of Research
Incentive mechanisms

 

Main Area of Research
'Green' Antitrust Law

 

Main Area of Research
Competition in Innovation

 

Field of Research
Intellectual property law and competition law in the European Union

 

Main Area of Research
Union-Wide Intellectual Property Rights and Systems

 

Main Area of Research
Objectives of the European Union in Intellectual Property and Competition Law

 

Main Area of Research
Procedural Law

 

Field of Research
Intellectual property law and competition law in a global legal order

 

Main Area of Research
The Fragmentation of International Intellectual Property Law

 

Main Area of Research
The Concept of Territoriality and Its Impact on International Intellectual Property Protection

 

Main Area of Research
Global Competition Order

 

Field of Research
Enforcement of rights

 

Main Area of Research
Balance of interest

 

Main Area of Research
The structures of law enforcement

 

Main Area of Research
Alternative Dispute Resolution

 

Field of Research
The methodological basis of antitrust law

 

Main Area of Research
The Economic Approach to Competition Law

 

Main Area of Research
Methodological Challenges of Protecting Competition in Innovation

 

Field of Research
The social contribution and legitimacy of intellectual property law

 

Main Area of Research
Functions, objectives, values and evaluation criteria

 

Main Area of Research
Ceilings of Intellectual Property Protection

 

Main Area of Research
Acceptance of Intellectual Property Rights