The Institute

The central focus of the Institute’s research is on examining processes of innovation and competition and on developing proposals for designing framework conditions for these processes. The research questions are examined by a law department and an economics department.


The Institute was founded in 1966 as the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law. In 2013, after the establishment of a new economics department, its name was changed to Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition.

Since its founding 50 years ago, the Institute has been committed to the development of intellectual property law and competition law on the basis of sound scientific principles. Through its wide range of contributions to research, it has initiated and provided guidance for important legislative processes on the national, the European and the international level. With the addition in 2013 of the economics department, the Institute took account of the fact that legal aspects are not the only factors determining the regulation of these processes. Rather, economic considerations represent an important, complementary set of instruments to measure the effects of legal norms. Conversely, economists also increasingly use insights from the field of law to make more realistic models of the processes and institutions they study and to examine them empirically. Using such complementary approaches in research allows for a better assessment of particularly those new phenomena that generate ever more interest in the worlds of business, politics and civil society.

Indeed, the Institute’s research topics are not only drawing more attention in scientific discussion, but are also relevant in political and social discourse. A number of factors contribute to this fact, for instance the rapid spread of digitalization or the opening up of creative and innovative processes (key words here include user-generated content and open innovation).

The expanded methodological spectrum of the Institute enables us to adapt to the new status quo in science, technology, business, politics and society. This is all the more important as the call for science to provide evidence-based political consulting has grown louder in recent years: Data-based analyses are called upon to clarify causal relationships and display correlations that are generated by a variety of effects. Precisely with respect to possible adjustments of legal foundations, the new economic sciences department of the Institute can provide considerable research support with such analyses. For example, an experimental laboratory has been set up to study the fundamental motivation for innovation and the determinants of creativity. Furthermore, field experiments can be used to develop robust principles as the basis for recommendations to policy makers.

A further central task of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition is the promotion of young scientists beyond their university degree. Our unique infrastructure and support programs attract over 100 young scholars each year from all over the world, most in their doctoral phase, to the Institute to prepare for an academic career. We also host a great many guest scholars, who use our library, the best worldwide in its fields, in pursuit of their studies and research projects.

An important and above all practical function is fulfilled by the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC). Here the Institute offers an English-language LL.M. program with an emphasis in IP law within an international network of partner universities and featuring a teaching staff of world-renowned professors.

Brief History

Renamed Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Enlargement of the Institute with a new department, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research, under the direction of Dietmar Harhoff

The existing Institute was split into two independent Institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law under the direction of Reto M. Hilty and Josef Drexl, and the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, under the direction of Kai A. Konrad and Wolfgang Schön.
Founding of the Munich Max Planck Campus for Legal and Economic Research which, along with both Institutes, is integrated with the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy under the direction of Ulrich Becker and Axel Börsch-Supan.

Enlargement of the Institute with the Department of “Finance”

Expansion into the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law. On 1 July 2002, the unit “Accounting and Taxes” was added to the newly structured unit “Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law”.

Founding of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law

Activity Reports

In its activity reports, the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition provides information about its most recent activities. The numerous activities of the Institute – scientific projects, events and seminars, collaboration in professional associations and advisory work at the behest of governments and international organizations – are presented in detail in the reports. Up until 2011, the reports were biannual; starting with 2012, they now encompass three-year periods.

Activity Report 2018-2020


Activity Report 2015-2017


Activity Report 2012-2014

Activity Report 2010-2011

Activity Report 2008-2009

Activity Report 2006-2007

Activity Report 2004-2005