William R. Cornish
People  |  01/18/2022

In Memoriam Prof. William R. Cornish (1937–2022)

William Rodolph Cornish, External Scientific Member of our Institute and Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge, passed away on 8 January 2022, at the age of 84. Bill Cornish was a world leader in the field of Intellectual Property Law to whom our Institute owes an extraordinary debt of gratitude.

William R. Cornish
William R. Cornish (1937-2022) (Screenshot, Interview, Cambridge Law Faculty, Youtube)

During a year abroad as a schoolboy, the Australian discovered his love of Britain and Europe and, back in Australia, felt cut off from the world. In 1960, after studying law at the University of Adelaide in Australia, he returned to the United Kingdom and applied himself for postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford. As early as 1962, he began teaching as a lecturer at the London School of Economics, where he had a fateful encounter. An exchange with his colleague and friend Otto Kahn-Freund sparked an interest in Intellectual Property Law, which had hardly been developed in England until then.

Bill Cornish had a special relationship with our Institute: In an interview in 2015, Cornish reported that Munich became the most important research site in the field of Intellectual Property in Germany from 1966 onwards with the foundation of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law (as the Institute was called at the time) and that he paid his first visit to this “intellectual Mecca”in 1978, during research for his textbook on Intellectual Property. Many more visits were to follow.

He played a formative role in the Institute’s journal IIC - International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law as a member of the Editorial Board from 1990 to 2019.

Bill Cornish researched and taught at the most important universities in England, including Cambridge, the London School of Economics and Oxford, and was elected a member of the British Academy in 1984. He received numerous scientific and social awards and honors.

We have lost not only an outstanding scholar, but also a very warm-hearted person and good friend. We will miss him very much.

Detailed information on the life and work of William R. Cornish, as well as an extensive obituary, can be found on the pages of the University of Cambridge.

Porträt von Direktor Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Ph.D.
People  |  12/21/2021

Rotational Change of Management of the Institute as of 1 January 2022

As of 1 January 2022, Dietmar Harhoff, head of the economics department “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research”, assumes the role of Managing Director of the Institute through biennial rotation.

Porträt von Direktor Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Ph.D.
Dietmar Harhoff, Managing Director 2022/2023

He succeeds Josef Drexl, who has been Managing Director since 2020. Dietmar Harhoff has been Director at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition since 2013 and already served as Managing Director in 2015/2016.

RISE Workshop Logo
Miscellaneous  |  11/22/2021

The Program is available now! − RISE4 Workshop

On 6 and 7 December 2021, the fourth “Research in Innovation, Science and Entrepreneurship Workshop” (RISE4) from young researchers for young researchers will take place (online). The program of the RISE4 Workshop 2021 is now available. The participants can look forward to exciting topics and inspiring scientific exchange.

RISE Workshop Logo

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 RISE4 Workshop is Catherine Tucker, Professor of Management Science and Professor of Marketing at MIT Sloan and Chair of the MIT Sloan PhD Program.

Get the program here (PDF).
More on the workshop website RISE4 Workshop.

Michèle Finck, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, University of Tübingen, Inaugural Chair of Law and Artificial Intelligence
People  |  09/20/2021

Michèle Finck Appointed Professor of Law and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Tübingen

Michèle Finck is the Inaugural Chair of Law and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Tübingen. Her research will focus on the legal implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly in relation to data law and data governance. Questions regarding AI and sustainability, as well as climate change, are also a focus of the Chair.

Michèle Finck, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, University of Tübingen, Inaugural Chair of Law and Artificial Intelligence
Michèle Finck is the Inaugural Chair of Law and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Tübingen.

The research professorship, supported by the Carl Zeiss Foundation, follows an interdisciplinary approach in research and teaching. A close collaboration is intended, inter alia, with the Cluster of Excellence Machine Learning in Tübingen, the AI Center and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. At her Chair Michèle Finck wants to establish a team of national and international experts for legal issues of Artificial Intelligence. In the first stage, there will be five positions for doctoral students and one postdoctoral position at the Chair.    

Prior to her appointment at the University of Tübingen, Michèle Finck from 2017 worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute in the Intellectual Property and Competition Law Department with Reto M. Hilty. She focused her research work primarily on data (protection) law and new technologies, especially AI and blockchain, as well as data governance. As an Affiliated Research Fellow, she will continue to be associated with the Institute.

Michèle Finck received her PhD in European Law from the University of Oxford in 2015. Apart from her work as a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute, her professional career includes, among others, positions as a Fellow at the London School of Economics, as a lecturer for European Law at Keble College at the University of Oxford, as a Fellow at University College London and as a visiting scholar of law and technology at several European universities.

Mor Bakhoum, Head of the Max Planck Partner Group, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Université virtuelle du Sénégal, “Regulation of the data economy in emerging economies”
Miscellaneous  |  08/12/2021

Max Planck Partner Group Founded in Senegal

The Max Planck Society has given its approval to the establishment of a Max Planck Partner Group affiliated with the Institute at the Université virtuelle du Sénégal in Dakar. The aim of the collaboration is joint research on issues of data access and regulation in relation to sustainable development.

Mor Bakhoum, Head of the Max Planck Partner Group, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Université virtuelle du Sénégal, “Regulation of the data economy in emerging economies”
Mor Bakhoum is Head of the newly founded Max Planck Partner Group in Senegal.

Head of the new Max Planck Partner Group will be Mor Bakhoum, who was a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute from 2009 to 2018 and is still associated with the Institute as an Affiliated Research Fellow. In addition, Mor Bakhoum continues to teach at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC) the course “Competition Law in Emerging Markets” and supervises master theses of MIPLC students. He also currently heads the doctoral school of the Université virtuelle du Sénégal (UVS).

The Partner Group, which is based at the UVS, will comprise, apart from Mor Bakhoum, seven postdoctoral researchers, two doctoral students and a research assistant. In collaboration with the team at the Institute in Munich, they will undertake research activities on the issue of regulation of the digital economy and data access in relation to sustainable development. The Group will publish position papers and articles as well as support doctoral students at the UVS doctoral school working on the topic of data and the digital economy. The research within the Partner Group is closely linked to the Institute’s Research Project “Regulation of the data economy in emerging economies”.

The Max Planck Partner Groups are an instrument of the Max Planck Society in the joint promotion of researchers with countries interested in strengthening their research through international cooperation. A Partner Group can be set up on condition that outstanding young researchers, following their tenure at a Max Planck Institute, return to their home country and carry out further research on a subject that is also of interest to their previous host Institute. More than 70 Partner Groups exist worldwide at the moment.

Miscellaneous  |  07/28/2021

Call for Papers – RISE4 Workshop

Researchers who would like to present a paper at the “4th Research on Innovation, Science and Entrepreneurship Workshop” are invited to submit it until 30 September 2021.

For the fourth time now, the two-day event is organized by Ph.D. students and Postdocs of the Department for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research headed by Dietmar Harhoff to give young scholars the opportunity to present their work.

The RISE4 Workshop on 6/7 December 2021 aims at stimulating a rigorous in-depth discussion of a selected number of research papers by Ph.D. students and Junior Postdocs, providing feedback and connecting with peers from other research institutions.

Keynote speaker of the RISE4 Workshops is Catherine Tucker (MIT & NBER).

Please send your submissions as a PDF to rise_workshop(at)ip.mpg.de.

Get Call for Papers

See RISE4 Workshop Website

Miscellaneous  |  07/21/2021

Economic Consequences of the Coronavirus Pandemic – Diagnoses and Options for Action

In a new statement, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina presents an analysis of the economic and sociopolitical situation in Germany in the face of novel challenges posed by the pandemic and derives possible courses of action to cope with the upcoming structural change. Dietmar Harhoff contributed as an expert and addressed questions pertaining to the structural change and economic growth as well as the performance of public organizations.

In four thematic sections, diagnoses of the status quo are first presented, followed by specific options for policy measures. The statement provides answers to the following questions, among others:

  • Effects of the pandemic on the economic structural change: Under what conditions can existing growth potentials be leveraged?
  • Possible consequences of the pandemic on the distribution of wealth and social inequality: How can decision-makers respond in the areas of education and training, the fostering of gender equality and the design of the social security net?
  • Limits to the performance of public organizations in the crisis: What are their causes and how can they be overcome?
  • Sustainability of public finances: What are the reform options for national debt? How relevant is local government financing and investment activity after the pandemic?

More information on the Leopoldina website.

Go directly to the statement (in German).

Portrait of Director Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Ph.D.
Miscellaneous  |  07/15/2021

Dietmar Harhoff on the Board of the new Center for Ethics and Philosophy in Practice (CEPP) at LMU Munich

Dietmar Harhoff joined the board of the newly established Center for Ethics and Philosophy in Practice (CEPP) at LMU Munich.

Portrait of Director Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Ph.D.
Dietmar Harhoff joined the board of the newly established Center for Ethics and Philosophy in Practice (CEPP) at LMU Munich.

The CEPP is a cross-faculty research institution at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich and has replaced the Munich Center for Ethics. The aim of the CEPP is to contribute to both the discussion and solution of current societal problems by coordinating and promoting research and teaching in the field of ethics while making it accessible for a wider public. The CEPP serves as an inter-faculty juncture for outstanding research and teaching on application-oriented topics in ethics and practical philosophy. In addition, the CEPP aims at having a networking effect to the society, making the interlinking of science and normative reflection visible for a general public, and thus complementing LMU’s third mission activities.

The CEPP strives to identify important ethical issues in society, politics, and science and to address them in research, teaching and public events. The social and technological changes during the last few decades initiated a transformation for practical philosophy in general as well as for the field of philosophical ethics in particular. The ethical consequences of, for example, artificial intelligence, climate change, or the development and pluralization of our societies through migration are only just beginning to show their full implications. On the one hand, this confronts us with practical problems, since new areas of conflict also require new, publicly justifiable solutions. On the other hand, it also requires theoretical reflection, since traditional concepts and principles of philosophical ethics must be reviewed for their relevance and modified if necessary.

More information on the CEPP website.

 “New directions in the European Union’s innovation policy?” Alumni Association Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
Event Report  |  07/10/2021

“New Directions in the European Union’s Innovation Policy?” – 17th Annual Conference of the Institute and the Alumni Association

On 9 July 2021 this year’s Alumni Conference was held on the topic “New Directions in the European Union’s Innovation Policy?”. In two panels with four keynotes, the participants discussed questions of competition and IP policy of the European Union from an interdisciplinary perspective.

 “New directions in the European Union’s innovation policy?” Alumni Association Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
On 9 July the 17th Annual Conference of the Institute and the Alumni Association was held.

What direction is the European Union's innovation policy going in? Can legislative proposals such as the Digital Markets Act (DMA) make Europe fit for the digital age? Is the European IP framework still suitable to fulfil its fundamental functions in view of technological disruption? These were the questions addressed at this year's Alumni Conference, which was hosted on 9 July for the 17th time by the Institute in collaboration with the Alumni Association “Friends and Former Employees of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition”. 

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, for the first time the event took place online. Researchers and Alumni of the Institute as well as external guests from all over the world engaged in fruitful discussions on the current and future European law and policy framework for innovation and competition in digital markets. The conference was opened by welcome addresses of the chairwoman of the Alumni Association, Federica Togo, and the Managing Director of the Institute, Josef Drexl.

The European Union's Competition Policy

The first panel dealt with the competition policy of the European Union and was chaired by Dietmar Harhoff, Director of the Institute’s economic department. Cristina Caffarra, Senior Consultant to Charles River Associates and Visiting Professor at University College London, started by providing a critical look at the current competitive landscape and competition law enforcement within the digital world. In her keynote, she raised major concerns regarding, inter alia, structural underenforcement coupled with insufficient regulation, which also fails to properly address privacy concerns. The talk contained a critical look at the proposal for a Digital Markets Act (DMA) and further legislative action in the UK, the US, and Germany, and questioned whether the current regulatory environment helps to foster innovation.

In the second keynote of the first panel Rupprecht Podszun, Chair for Civil Law, German and European Competition Law and Director of the Institute for Competition Law at the University of Düsseldorf, spoke about “Taking Decisions on Regulating Big Tech”. He argued for a principled approach that should be followed by policymakers enforcing competition law vis-à-vis Big Tech companies. The presentation focused, inter alia, on the question where such principles come from (e.g. constitutional documents) and on the relationship between competition law and fundamental rights issues, such as personal data protection, sustainability or the protection of consumer autonomy. Within his keynote he discussed different ways of intervention against the backdrop of different market models.

The discussion after the first panel focused, for example, on the question which goals the proposed DMA pursues (if any). It was also discussed how a competition policy can be justified that aims at providing consumers with more sovereignty and choice in order to protect competition, but at the same time cuts down the users’ convenience by regulating the conduct of Big Tech companies.

The IP Policy of the EU

The second panel, chaired by Reto M. Hilty, Director at the legal department of the Institute, was devoted to the EU’s IP policy. Katharine Rockett, Professor at the University of Essex, started by laying the economic groundwork on intellectual property protection for data and Artificial Intelligence. She first elaborated on the general preconditions under which IP rights for data may be justified and put a special emphasis on issues of licensing and diffusion. After having illustrated the distinguishing features of data compared to more traditional subject matter for intellectual property protection and the implications of these features for intellectual property design, she made some final remarks on how Artificial Intelligence might alter traditional IP paradigms.

Building on this economic foundation, Matthias Leistner, Chair of Private Law and Intellectual Property Law with Information and IT-Law at the University of Munich, gave an overview on both the current IP landscape of the EU and upcoming IP policy reforms from a legal point of view. Against the backdrop of a newly-evolving overall access and portability paradigm in EU law making, he critically examined the protection of database works de lege lata under copyright law, the sui generis right for databases, and trade secrecy rules. He particularly pointed out the need for abolishment or at least substantial reform of the database sui generis right. Leistner then gave an outlook on how the European Commission plans to address this and other existing problems in the course of its upcoming Data Act.

The following lively discussion revolved around, inter alia, the problem of over-complex and overlapping regulatory levels to the detriment of small market players, the possibility of introducing new registration systems for as of yet unregistered IP rights, and the advantages of a more unfair competition law oriented approach towards the protection of databases.

Cristiane Stülp at working in the server room
Miscellaneous  |  06/25/2021

First Woman Successfully Completes Vocational Training at the Institute’s IT Department

Cristiane Stülp has become the first woman to successfully complete her training at the Institute’s IT department. The 25-year-old Brazilian is thus a role model for many young women who would like to develop their talents and interests in areas of the professional world that traditionally have a male connotation. She tells us her story and confirms in the interview how important it is for women in this context to have the necessary support in their private environment.

Cristiane Stülp at working in the server room
Cristiane Stülp at working in the server room. Photo: Andreas Kraus

Women are still significantly underrepresented in IT professions. Only about 8 percent of all IT apprentices in Germany are female (source: Statistisches Bundesamt, 2019). The IT world of work has traditionally been considered a male domain, even though programming, for example, was still a typical female occupation in the 1980s as busywork for office staff. One exception was the U.S. computer scientist and computer pioneer Grace Hopper, who worked with the Mark I, the world's first fully electronic computer, at Harvard University from the mid-1940s.

There are also economic reasons why policymakers and the industry are trying to attract more women to IT professions: Due to the shortage of skilled workers, vacant IT positions can no longer be filled (source: Handelsblatt) . Nevertheless, young women in the IT sector still have to contend with obstacles and prejudices.

We asked Cristiane Stülp about her personal experiences on her way to becoming an IT specialist and what she would pass on to young women as a role model.

The young Brazilian with German roots emphasizes that, at the beginning of her path, a fair amount of risk-taking was necessary to even go to Germany. Her family played an important role. In a way, her older sister Marlise, who had completed an agricultural internship in Germany, served as a female role model. Cristiane Stülp had initially planned only a one-year internship – in the meantime, she has been in Germany for almost five years.

The IT specialist reports that her family has an agricultural business in Brazil. However, her parents never mapped out career paths with expectations, but were always open and supportive about their children’s career aspirations. One experience she took away from the agricultural world was her assertiveness. She emphasizes that she is not afraid to work as the only woman among men.

Her interest in IT was also awakened and strengthened in her private life. Even as a girl, she had to stand up to her brothers to get her fair share of limited computer time. Her partner Jacob, who works in the IT sector, has always encouraged her to pursue her interests in this field and to look for an apprenticeship. Here again, assertiveness and persistence were required – both in dealing with the immigration authorities and in the search for a vocational training institution.

When choosing her career, she never experienced anyone advising her against an IT vocational training – yet, many reacted with surprise. For her colleagues, too, it was new territory to no longer work only among men – but she never encountered any prejudice or resistance in the IT team, which Cristiane Stülp now calls “my men” with a wink and smile. On the contrary, she has experienced great appreciation, support, and encouragement.

Working in a mixed team has proved successful. The IT department would like to recruit more female trainees, but there is a shortage of applicants. In the last round of applications, their share was far below 5 percent. When it comes to internal tasks, Cristiane Stülp also likes to seek responsibility. She sees as a special female quality that she identifies organizational improvement potential and thus contributes to solutions with greater sustainability in the community of the team.

Although women tend to have higher exit rates in male-dominated professions (source: Accenture, 2020), Cristiane wants to continue working in the IT field after her training. She is particularly interested in system administration. She is happy to continue working at the Institute after her exams.

The training and examination period during the COVID-19 pandemic brought great additional challenges and also personal losses – Cristiane Stülp overcame all this with great mental strength and maturity. She also emphasizes that it was striking that she encountered very few young female IT trainees in the vocational school environment, but rather independent adult women.

After her successful training, she is first and foremost looking forward to seeing her family in Brazil as soon as this is possible. At the end of the interview, she makes a wonderful closing statement: “I, as a woman here at the Institute, am just happy.” She would take the same path again at any time.

(The interview was conducted by Myriam Rion, Hella Schuster, and Ulrike Garlet.)