Dan L. Burk (1962 – 2024)
People  |  02/09/2024

In Memoriam Dan L. Burk (1962 – 2024)

We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Dan L. Burk, Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. He passed away on 4 February 2024, leaving behind a profound and worldwide legacy on issues related to technology law, including the areas of patent, copyright, electronic commerce, and biotechnology law.

Dan L. Burk (1962 – 2024)
Dan L. Burk (1962 – 2024). Photo: UCI Law

He had close ties with the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition. He was a member of the Advisory Board from 2013 to 2023. In 2011, as a Fulbright Scholar, he conducted groundbreaking research at the Institute on the patenting of biotechnology in Germany and the European Union. Dan was a long-standing member of the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC) faculty. His contributions were crucial in helping to establish the excellent reputation and made a profound impact on the MIPLC community.


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Reto M. Hilty
People  |  02/07/2024

Reto M. Hilty Retires

Reto M. Hilty, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, having reached the age of 66 at the beginning of 2024, officially retired at the end of January. The legal scholar is a leading authority in the field of intellectual property law and an internationally renowned advisor for legislation at European and national level. This also includes non-European legal systems, in particular China and Latin America.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Reto M. Hilty
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Reto M. Hilty, Emeritus Director at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Reto Hilty has repeatedly contributed to the legislative processes of the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany with expert opinions, most recently in 2023 with the Revisiting the Framework for Compulsory Licensing of Patents in the EU. During the coronavirus pandemic, he took a clear position on the idea of releasing patents on vaccines and explained why releasing patents would not lead to a better supply of vaccines.

Over the last years, Reto Hilty has been leading the SIPLA – Smart IP for Latin America project, which investigates which protection standards are useful for economic development in Latin America. The aim of the various individual projects is to further develop the protection systems in such a way that the historical, cultural, social, economic and political conditions of the different countries can be adequately taken into account.

Reto Hilty, who initially studied mechanical engineering, already joined the then Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law in Munich for a research stay in 1989 to work on his dissertation on patent law. This was followed by teaching assignments at the Universities of Zurich and St. Gallen. After his habilitation on license agreement law, he was appointed full professor of technology and information law at the ETH Zurich in 2001, followed by an appointment as full professor of intellectual property law at the University of Zurich in 2002. In the same year, Reto Hilty was also appointed Director of the Max Planck Institute.

This was followed by numerous honorary and visiting professorships, for example at Tongji University in Shanghai (PR China) and at Singapore Management University. The University of Buenos Aires awarded Reto Hilty an honorary doctorate in 2019 for his achievements in the field of intellectual property and competition law.

The Institute has many reasons to thank Reto Hilty. Over the past 22 years, he has shaped, significantly changed and advanced the Institute with his drive, strategic brilliance and academic achievements. His particularly lasting initiatives include the creation of an economics department and the imminent relocation of the Institute to a new site.

Fortunately, his retirement does not mean a farewell to the Institute. He would like to continue his research and will do so at our Institute, albeit balancing between Buenos Aires and Munich.

Comparative Data Law, conference impression
Event Report  |  01/12/2024

Conference “Comparative Data Law”

Legal issues relating to the development of global data law were discussed at the "Comparative Data Law" conference on December 7 and 8, 2023. The Research Center for Legal Issues of Digitalization (FREDI) at the University of Passau, the Institute for Media and Information Law (Department of Private Law) at the University of Freiburg and the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (MPI) jointly hosted and organized the conference at the Haus der Bayerischen Wirtschaft in Munich. Moritz Hennemann (Uni Freiburg) and Josef Drexl (MPI) were responsible for the content.

Comparative Data Law, conference impression
Comparative Data Law, conference impression. Photo: Moritz Hennemann
Participants of the conference “Comparative Data Law”
Participants of the conference “Comparative Data Law”. Photo: Delia Zirilli

Academics from all over the world discussed international data regulation on various continents and critically explored future options for action. The thematically diverse program was dedicated to central data law issues and opened with a keynote speech by Michal Gal (University of Haifa) on “The Effects of Legal Data Regimes on the Global Data Race”. In the following four sections of the conference, data trust models, questions of data localization and data sharing as well as suitable international regulatory forums were presented and controversially discussed. The question of how to deal with the phenomenon of so-called data colonialism was also the subject of presentations and discussions. At the end of the event, Josef Drexl presented the MPI project group “Data Governance in Emerging Economies to Promote the Sustainable Development Goals”, which includes several researchers from the Institute. Numerous poster presentations, in which scientists presented current research projects and discussed them with interested conference participants, completed the event.

Prof. Dr. Josef Drexl
People  |  01/02/2024

Rotational Change of Management of the Institute as of 1 January 2024

As of 1 January 2024, Josef Drexl assumes the role of Managing Director of the Institute through biennial rotation.

Prof. Dr. Josef Drexl
Prof. Dr. Josef Drexl, LL.M. (Berkeley), Managing Director 2024/2025

He succeeds Dietmar Harhoff, who has been Managing Director since 2022. Josef Drexl has been Director at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition since 2002 and already served as Managing Director in 2009/2010, 2013/2014, and 2020/2021.

Joseph Straus
People  |  12/14/2023

Joseph Straus Celebrates his 85th Birthday

The Institute and all its members extend their heartfelt congratulations to former Director Joseph Straus on his 85th birthday. Joseph Straus is one of the outstanding researchers in the field of intellectual property law and is particularly active in the field of patent law with a focus on biotechnology.

Joseph Straus
Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Joseph Straus

His scientific achievements have been honored in many ways, including the Science Prize of the Stifterverband der Deutschen Wissenschaft in 2000 and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Ljubljana and Kragujevac. He is also a member of the Academia Europea and a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of Slovenia, as well as a foreign member (socio straniero) of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (the oldest scientific academy in the world) and a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition to his birthday, the emeritus professor has another reason to celebrate this year: the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC) Cooperation Project, which he led from 2003 to 2008, has been in existence for 20 years and has gained an excellent international reputation with its Master's program. In recognition of his vision and leadership role in founding the MIPLC, the “MIPLC Joseph Straus Distinguished Service Award” was created and first awarded five years ago.

Joseph Straus has not only taught as an honorary professor at the LMU Munich, but also as a visiting professor at numerous foreign universities. His contacts in the USA and China are particularly close. Joseph Straus is an honorary professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan and Tongji University in Shanghai. The cooperation with Tongji University, which has existed for 20 years and is also being celebrated these days, was largely co-initiated and supported by him.

Even in the year in which he turned 85, Joseph Straus is still giving lectures and courses. The list of his publications continues to grow.

For further appreciation of Joseph Straus' research and achievements, please refer to this article on our website and the editorial in GRUR Int 67, (12/2018).

[Bitte nach "english" übersetzen:] RISE Logo
Miscellaneous  |  11/27/2023

The Program Is Available Now! − RISE6 Workshop

On 18 and 19 December 2023, the sixth “Research in Innovation, Science and Entrepreneurship Workshop” (RISE6) from young researchers for young researchers will take place. The program of the RISE6 Workshop 2023 is now available. The participants can look forward to exciting topics, an interesting keynote, and inspiring scientific exchange.

The workshop was first organized by Junior Researchers in 2018, and is aimed at Ph.D. students and Junior Postdocs worldwide. RISE offers them an opportunity to present their work, receive feedback from experienced researchers and connect with peers from other research institutions. Keynote Speaker of the RISE6 Workshop is Ina Ganguli, Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

See the Program RISE6 (PDF).

More on the workshop website RISE6 Workshop.

AI-generated image to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the economics department of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
Event Report  |  11/20/2023

Anniversary Celebration “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research” – 10 Years Economics Department at the Institute

On 10 November 2023, more than 80 participants, including 26 Alumni, Alumnae and Affiliated Research Fellows, gathered to celebrate and honor the tenth anniversary of the Economics Department at the Institute. Dietmar Harhoff had been appointed Director at the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law in 2013.

AI-generated image to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the economics department of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
A special gift: AI-generated image based on prompts from department members with memories of the past years.
Dietmar Harhoff with the historic event bell
Dietmar Harhoff with the historic event bell
Laura Rosendahl Huber presents a retrospective of the beginnings of the economics department at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
Laura Rosendahl Huber sharing a look back to 2013
Young researchers pitch their projects.
Young researchers pitching their projects
Federal Research Minister Stark-Watzinger during her congratulatory video greetings
Federal Research Minister Stark-Watzinger during her congratulatory video greetings

The program of the anniversary event traced the development of the department for “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research” and the interdisciplinarity at the Institute. The archive reports on the  appointment of Dietmar Harhoff and subsequent  renaming of the Institute as the “Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition” tell the story of the department, to which reference was made.

After introductory words by Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Ph.D., a panel discussion was held in which a decade of progress in the research field and the department was reflected upon. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Zhaoxin Pu (DataGuard), who herself completed her doctorate at the Institute in 2020, and at present works for a company specializing in data protection, information security, and compliance.

Prof. Dr. Fabian Gaessler, now Assistant Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, showed in his contribution how research at the interface of management, economics, law, and computer science, leads to a “cross-pollination”, so to speak, with an input of doctoral students from various institutions and a throughput of postdocs from renowned research institutions (EPFL, Cornell University, ZEW, KAIST, Northwestern University, Mines Paris Tech, University of Cape Town, Goethe University and many more). This qualifies for positions in various sectors and has led the former Research Fellows into industry, start-ups and spin-offs (octimine technologies), or to EPO, bidt, and other research institutions (e.g., KU Leuven, Erasmus University, Politecnico di Milano, Bocconi University, University of Groningen, Ingolstadt University of Technology, Bundeswehr University).

Prof. Laura Rosendahl Huber, Ph.D., who is now Assistant Professor at the Rotterdam School of Management and is, inter alia, conducting research on gender differences, portrayed the development of the department into an increasingly diverse and international team in her presentation of photos and memories.

Prof. Bronwyn Hall, Ph.D., Emerita Professor at the University of California Berkeley, and Affiliate of the department, examined the department’s publication figures  and noted a constantly growing publication output.

Dr. Matthias Lamping, Senior Research Fellow, gave an entertaining account of the expectations of the legal colleagues that were associated with the establishment of an economics department. It quickly became apparent that interdisciplinarity cannot be established at the push of a button, but that ideas on common research questions grow together through continuous dialogue.

Dr. Alexander Suyer, also a former doctoral student of Dietmar Harhoff and now Research Coordinator at the Institute, started with the Institute’s Mission Statement to reflect on Dietmar Harhoff's many years of engagement in evidence-based policy advice at the national and federal state level.

In his speech, Prof. Dr. Josef Drexl expressed in particular appreciation for the colleague, scientist, and person Dietmar Harhoff.

Very refreshing and impressive were the subsequent “elevator pitches”, short presentations by young researchers from both the economics and law departments of the Institute, which ranged from core innovation and patent research to gender issues in innovation and entrepreneurship, digital markets, platforms and artificial intelligence to green tech, and showed that the young scientists have grown and settled in interdisciplinary exchange.

In an interactive memory lane game, the Junior Research Fellows Ann-Christin Kreyer and Timm Opitz then presented surprising, interesting, and amusing facts and figures that required the knowledge and judgment of those present.

A special surprise was presented at the end of the afternoon event: In a video greeting, the Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watziger honored the ten-year anniversary of the department for “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research” as well as Dietmar Harhoff personally as a “particularly influential voice for innovation and competition” who was and is heard by policymakers.

At the subsequent reception in the Institute’s Grand Hall, attendees were invited to step into the time machine, and look at the project posters from the first poster session in 2013, which were set up in order to trace the significant changes and developments of the last ten years in terms of both subject matters and persons.

The evening dinner event, which was dedicated to the exchange between the Alumni and Alumnae of the economics department and the current team, was introduced by piano music in the Max Planck Hall of the Akademischer Gesangverein München (Academic Choral Society), which Max Planck joined at the age of 16 – a lesser-known facet of his talents. Dietmar Harhoff was thanked by his team with a special gift based on the idea and initiative of Senior Research Fellow Dr. Marina Chugunova, who researches human-machine interactions, inter alia: an image generated by artificial intelligence fed with prompts from the team. The fact that humans are still indispensable for achieving outstanding creative results was demonstrated by the commitment of Sebastian Erhardt, also known as “SebGPT”, who gave the result an extra boost.

Special thanks for her commitment and creativity in organizing the event went to Junior Research Fellow  Svenja Friess.


Video Greeting (in German) of the Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger

LinkedIn Post on the event by Prof. Dr. Claudia Lieske (Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt)

Timmy Pielmeier in the atrium of the LMU with the Faculty Award
Award  |  11/02/2023

Timmy Pielmeier Receives Faculty Prize for his Dissertation

Following the GRUR Dissertation Prize, Timmy Pielmeier has now also been awarded the Faculty Prize of the LMU’s Faculty of Law for his dissertation on Die Konkurrenz von Urheberrecht und Lauterkeitsrecht im Binnenmarkt (The Competition between Copyright Law and Fair Trading Law in the Single Market). The prizewinner wrote a significant part of his work during his time as a scholarship holder at the Institute.

Timmy Pielmeier in the atrium of the LMU with the Faculty Award
Timmy Pielmeier in the atrium of the LMU with the Faculty Award. Photo: fotomuc.de
Timmy Pielmeier (1st from right) at the faculty award ceremony with the Chairman of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law at LMU Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Hermann (1st from left) and his supervisor Dean Prof. Dr. Ansgar Ohly. Photo: fotomuc.de
Timmy Pielmeier (1st from right) at the faculty award ceremony with the Chairman of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law at LMU Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Hermann (1st from left) and his supervisor Dean Prof. Dr. Ansgar Ohly. Photo: fotomuc.de

The Faculty Prize is awarded by the Faculty of Law to all doctoral theses that were consistently awarded the highest grade summa cum laude in all four assessment units. The award is presented in the form of a certificate, which is ceremoniously presented by the Dean during the academic doctoral and graduation ceremony together with the doctoral certificate.

In addition to the certificate, since 2013 doctoral students have also received a trophy specially made for them by the Alumni and Sponsors’ Association. This is presented by the Chairman of the Alumni and Sponsors’ Association at the academic doctoral and graduation ceremony. The trophy consists of a fine silver coin with a purity of 99%. (silver 999). The faculty seal, which differs slightly from the LMU seal, is embossed on the coin.

Report on the Award of the GRUR Dissertation Prize

Portrait of Director Dietmar Harhoff
Miscellaneous  |  10/12/2023

Founding Commission of the German Agency for Transfer and Innovation Takes up Its Work

The German Agency for Transfer and Innovation (DATI) is to break new ground in the fostering of transfer and innovation. The aim is to bring research results into application and to people more quickly and effectively, and to unleash new innovation potential throughout Germany. Dietmar Harhoff was appointed a member of the DATI founding commission by Federal Minister Stark-Watzinger at the beginning of October 2023. The commission has now taken up its work.

Portrait of Director Dietmar Harhoff
Dietmar Harhoff was appointed a member of the DATI founding commission by Federal Minister Stark-Watzinger.

Technological and social innovations increasingly determine the competitiveness of the economy and the future viability of a society. Numerous universities and other research institutions in Germany generate new knowledge and explore new technologies each and every day. 

The DATI is set up to bring research results into economic and/or social applications through an effective transfer of ideas, knowledge, and technology. It will operate across all topics and focus on both technological and social innovations. The agency will pursue an innovative and flexible funding approach that is based on the specific needs and competences in the country, and offers transfer from a single source.

The DATI Founding Commission, which convened for its constituent meeting in Berlin on 9 October 2023, has the task of developing proposals for the location and leadership of DATI. It is also tasked with making recommendations on the content and procedural aspects of establishing and expanding DATI. The committee consists of 16 experts from science, industry, associations, start-ups, the federal states, the international sector, and the Parliament.

Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger explained: “In Germany, too many good ideas have so far ended up in a drawer. We want to bring more of them into application, and thus into companies and to people. A key instrument for this is the German Agency for Transfer and Innovation, where we are now taking the next important step with the Founding Commission. The Commission will help us to get the new innovation agency up and running quickly.”

After Dietmar Harhoff had already supported the founding of the German Ferderal Agency for Disruptive Innovation (SPRIND), whose central task is to find and promote highly innovative ideas with the potential for disruptive innovation, in 2019 as Chairman of the Founding Commission, his expertise is now in demand for the founding of DATI in the area of innovation-oriented transfer.

Dr. Stefan Groß-Selbeck (BCG X, Boston Consulting Group) has assumed the chairmanship of the founding commission. He emphasized: “DATI is an important new element in the German transfer and innovation landscape. As the founding commission, we will closely accompany this process and contribute in particular to important issues such as site selection and the selection of management personnel.”

Further members of the DATI founding commission are:

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Uschi Backes-Gellner (University of Zurich), Prof. Dr. Jörg Bagdahn (Anhalt University of Applied Sciences), Dr. Anna Christmann, MdB, Dr. Achim Dercks (German Chamber of Industry and Commerce), Andrea Frank (Stifterverband), Prof. Dr. Holger Hanselka (Fraunhofer Society). Thomas Jarzombek, MdB, Prof. Dr. Kira Kastell (University of Applied Sciences Hamm), Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart (TU Dresden), Prof. Dr. Birgitt Riegraf (University of Paderborn), Ye-One Rhie, MdB, Prof. Dr. Stephan Seiter, MdB, Prof. Dr. Anja Steinbeck (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf) und Philipp von der Wippel (Project Together).

Symbolbild zur Konferenzserie "Global Data Law Conference Series"
Miscellaneous  |  09/22/2023

Comparative Data Law Conference - Program Available, Registration Open

The conference program and registration for the Comparative Data Law conference to take place in Munich on 7 and 8 December 2023 are now available. The event is the final part of a three-part conference series on Global Data Law and part of a larger research agenda related to Global Data Law and Policy and is jointly organized with the University of Passau Research Centre for Law.

Symbolbild zur Konferenzserie "Global Data Law Conference Series"

All information about the conference, the program and registration can be found in the event entry.