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.