Dr. Francisco Beneke

Senior Research Fellow
Executive Editor GRUR International

Intellectual Property and Competition Law

+49 89 24246-5401
francisco.beneke(at)ip.mpg.de

Areas of interest:

Competition policy and development, innovation policy (with a focus on IP rights) in developing countries, and digital markets and economic development

Academic Resumé

2014 — 2019
Ph.D. 
Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich

2012 — 2013
LL.M.
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

2004 — 2009
LL.B.
Escuela Superior de Economía y Negocios, Santa Tecla, El Salvador

Academic Prizes and Honours

Scholarship from the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Memberships

Munich’s Antitrust Law Forum

Publications

Edited Works

Los Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual y Libre Competencia, Siglo del Hombre Editores, Bogotá 2021, 644 pp. (together with Ernesto Rengifo Garcia).

  • El Departamento de la Propiedad Intelectual de la Universidad Externado de Colombia y el Instituto Max Planck para la Innovación y Competencia se complacen en presentar a consideración de los investigadores y del público en general el libro Los derechos de propiedad intelectual y la libre competencia, cuyo propósito principal es socializar los trabajos de investigación realizados en el campo de la propiedad intelectual, ampliar su entendimiento y propiciar el debate respecto del conflicto o la complementariedad con los diversos aspectos que se conjugan en el mercado para proporcionar bienestar al consumidor. El libro se divide en cinco secciones a través de las cuales se examinan el poder del mercado como concepto central del derecho de competencia relacionado con los derechos de autor; el sistema de patentes, su concesión en el campo de las nuevas tecnologías y el posible uso de acciones anticompetitivas; la estrecha relación entre la biotecnología y la agricultura, específicamente en el mercado de semillas; las prácticas colusorias y unilaterales referidas a los diseños industriales, y la posible posición de dominio de los signos distintivos cuando son clasificados como notorios o renombrados. Además, se presenta un análisis comparativo entre las legislaciones de la Comunidad Andina de Naciones, especialmente la colombiana, las de la Unión Europea y la de Estados Unidos relacionadas con los derechos de libre competencia y propiedad intelectual. Para el Departamento de Propiedad Intelectual de la Universidad Externado de Colombia esta publicación va en línea con uno de sus propósitos cual es el de su internacionalización y presencia más allá del ámbito local, como un estímulo más para que los profesores investigadores perseveren en sus trabajos y palpen el gusto que genera la satisfacción del deber cumplido: "Res severa verum gaudium".

Contributions to Collected Editions, Commentaries, Handbooks and Encyclopaedias

La Propiedad Intelectual en Latinoamérica y su Rol en el Desarrollo Económico y Social, in: Estudos de Propriedade Intelectual em Homenagem ao Prof. Dr. Denis Borges Barbosa, IODA - Instituto Observatório do Direito Autoral, Curitiba 2021, 25 - 64 (together with Reto M. Hilty et al.).

  • O texto trata do estabelecimento e evolução dos direitos da propriedade in-telectual na América Latina. Perpassa os contextos nos quais esses direitos foram incorporados ao arcabouço legal doméstico. Ainda que as economias latino-americanas sejam mais ou menos frágeis do ponto de vista da pro-priedade intelectual, as conclusões apontam que há diversos desafios a se-rem enfrentados, mas que os países da região têm potencial para superá-los e avançar na proteção e na utilização dos seus ativos intelectuais.
  • This article deals with the establishment and evolution of intellectual property rights in Latin America. It goes through the contexts in which these rights have been in-corporated into the domestic legal framework. Although Latin American economies are more or less fragile from the point of view of intellectual property, the conclusions indicate that there are several challenges to be faced, but that the countries of the region have the potential to overcome them and advance in the protection and use of their intellectual assets.
  • https://codaip.gedai.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/1_Estudos-de-Propriedade-Intelectual-em-homenagem-ao-Prof_Dr_Denis-Borges-Barbosa.pdf

Journal Articles

Towards a More Complete Understanding of Market Power and Consumer Harm in Antitrust Law, Promarket.org 2021.

Remedies for Algorithmic Tacit Collusion, Journal of Antitrust Enforcement 2020, 05.08.2020 (together with Mark-Oliver Mackenrodt). DOI

  • There is growing evidence that tacit collusion can be autonomously achieved by machine learning technology, at least in some real-life examples identified in the literature and experimental settings. Although more work needs to be done to assess the competitive risks of widespread adoption of autonomous pricing agents, this is still an appropriate time to examine which possible remedies can be used in case competition law shifts towards the prohibition of tacit collusion. This is because outlawing such conduct is pointless unless there are suitable remedies that can be used to address the social harm. This article explores how fines and structural and behavioural remedies can serve to discourage collusive results while preserving the incentives to use efficiency-enhancing algorithms. We find that this could be achieved if fines and remedies can target structural conditions that facilitate collusion. In addition, the problem of unfeasibility of injunctions to remedy traditional price coordination changes with the use of pricing software, which in theory can be programmed to avoid collusive outcomes. Finally, machine-learning methods can be used by the authorities themselves as a tool to test the effects of any given combination of remedies and to estimate a more accurate competitive benchmark for the calculation of the appropriate fine.

Artificial Intelligence and Collusion, IIC 50, 1 (2019), 109 - 134 (together with Mark-Oliver Mackenrodt). DOI

  • The debate over whether, in the absence of overt communications, mere tacit coordination between competitors should be outlawed is neither new nor settled. Current technological developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) have added further complexity to the discussion, which has given rise to many works that explore the effects of the use of AI-powered pricing software on competition. This paper attempts to contribute to the debate by addressing some issues not covered in previous works. First, there are risks to consumer welfare associated with AI pricing software’s capacity to solve uncertainty (for example, supra-competitive equilibria may not be disrupted by changes in demand). Second, the use of artificial neural networks can make detection of anticompetitive pricing patterns more difficult. On the other hand, if authorities can harness the power of the technology themselves, detection problems could be alleviated. Third, the black box argument may not be a problem in this application of artificial neural networks since the pricing software industry has been able to develop more transparent algorithms in response to market demands. Finally, the use of AI pricing software brings some changes to the debate on the feasibility of remedies to mere interdependence, although more work needs to be carried out in this area.

Case notes

Ohio v. American Express and the Balancing of Consumer Welfare Effects on Multiple Sides of a Platform - Sherman Act, § 1, IIC 50, 7 (2019), 917 - 927. DOI

  • In Ohio v. American Express Co. the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that in the case of transaction platforms, a single relevant market must be defined, where both sides of the platform simultaneously consume the same good, namely, a transaction. Therefore, a plaintiff must show net overall harm to all sides of the market to satisfy its prima facie burden of proof. This case note argues that this rule is ill-suited to distinguish between procompetitive behavior and exercises of market power that can be justified with mere wealth transfers from one side of the market to the other. In line with an alternative allocation of the burden of proof proposed in the literature, this case note proposes a standard for evaluating countervailing benefits on all sides of the platform. Finally, the case note explains why the Court’s analysis of the effects of the anti-steering provisions was based on faulty economic grounds and the cherry-picking of facts on the record developed at the district court.

Reviews

Review of: Eleanor M. Fox and Mor Bakhoum: Making Markets Work for Africa Oxford University Press, New York 2019, 221 pp., ISBN: 978-0-19-093099-8, GRUR Int 69, 8 (2020), 879 - 881. DOI

    Research Papers

    Competition Law and Political Influence of Large Corporations – Antitrust Analysis and the Link between Political and Economic Institutions (Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper, No. 21-12), 2021, 23 pp. DOI

    • Economic policy determines the intensity of competition in markets. This gives incumbents the incentive to use their financial resources to influence policymaking in order to restrict competition and maintain or increase economic profits. Public authorities should promote that profits be used rather in welfare enhancing or neutral ways. Is competition law an adequate tool to promote this goal? This paper aims to ground the discussion on legal administrability considerations. The focus is therefore on whether we can design legal standards and identify evidence that courts can use to assess the tradeoffs between static efficiency, political influence of large corporations, and innovation. This paper argues that if political considerations are to be taken into account in antitrust analysis, these should be made explicit and looking at the evidence at hand in each case, in order to avoid enforcement guided by assumptions – such as that increases in market concentration always lead to risks in terms of political influence – that can otherwise be revised on a case-by-case basis.

    Technical Aspects of Artificial Intelligence: An Understanding from an Intellectual Property Law Perspective (Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper, No. 19-13), 2019, 15 pp. (together with Josef Drexl et al.).

    • The present Q&A paper aims at providing an overview of artificial intelligence with a special focus on machine learning as a currently predominant subfield thereof. Machine learning-based applications have been discussed intensely in legal scholarship, including in the field of intellectual property law, while many technical aspects remain ambiguous and often cause confusion. This text was drafted by the Research Group on the Regulation of the Digital Economy of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in the pursuit of understanding the fundamental characteristics of artificial intelligence, and machine learning in particular, that could potentially have an impact on intellectual property law. As a background paper, it provides the technological basis for the Group’s ongoing research relating thereto. The current version summarises insights gained from background literature research, interviews with practitioners and a workshop conducted in June 2019 in which experts in the field of artificial intelligence participated.
    • Available at SSRN

    Digital Markets, Mobile Payments Systems and Development – Competition Policy Implications in Developing Countries in Light of the EU Experience (Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper, No. 18-13), 2018, 43 pp. (together with Jörg Hoffmann, Mor Bakhoum).

    • The digitization of economic activity has important socio-economic development implications and at the same time creates challenges for antitrust analysis. These implications and challenges have been met differently in jurisdictions around the world. In this paper we analyze the different experiences in the EU and developing countries, focusing on mobile payments. We find that this market exhibits special characteristics that need to be taken into account in the analysis of competition conditions. First, it is enabled by mobile telecommunications infrastructure and is offered by network operators, which causes competition in both markets to be closely linked. Second, there are factors, such as the lack of interoperability and geographical reach, that make network effects in this industry different from those present in other platforms. Third, since mobile payments in developing countries serve a niche—the population underserved by mainstream banking—the definition of the relevant market is not straightforward. We propose the criteria to be applied when making such definition. Finally, since mobile payments have associated financial services, there is an interaction between competition and financial stability that needs to be considered.
    • Available at SSRN

    Market Regulation and Competition Policy – Towards a Dynamic Economy in the Benefit of Consumers, Latin American and Caribbean Law and Economics Association (ALACDE) Annual Papers, University of California, Berkeley 2010, 22 pp. (together with Manuela de la Helguera).

    • Despite the many efforts in the advocacy of competition, we find a great difficulty in determining the appropriate mechanisms to introduce this discipline in the assessment of existing and proposed regulation. Many actors in the public sphere in charge of creating and implementing the regulatory regime ignore the great benefits that competition policy brings to society at large. In addition, when there is a certain level of awareness of such benefits, there is no consensus on the level of importance of analyzing market regulation through the lens of competition policy. This lack of consensus may be motivat ed by the fact that it is not easy to quantify the gains of eliminating the excessive restrictions on competition. Finally, some markets continue to be highly regulated for many different reasons, i.e. political and social goals, which can hinder the task of promoting the efficient allocation of resources.
    • https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5s35h94f

    Lectures

    06/27 - 06/29/2019

    Market Power and Entry Analysis in Developing Countries - 14th ASCOLA Annual Conference

    Organized by: ASCOLA
    Location: Aix-en-Provence, France


    11/21/17

    Entry analysis in competition law enforcement – Why economic and social development matter

    International Seminar Competition Law and Development – A Universal Solution?
    Location: San Salvador, El Salvador


    2010

    Market Regulation and Competition Policy – Towards a Dynamic Economy in the Benefit of Consumers

    ALACDE Annual Conference
    Location: San Salvador, El Salvador