Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
Newsletter #4
Fall 2021

With this issue, we conclude the third year of our newsletter. We wish you a pleasant reading and many healthy walks in the colorful nature!

Prior research has largely focused on the important role of human capital in the production of knowledge. Yet, as Louis Pasteur said, without laboratories, scientists are soldiers without arms. Now, a new study investigates the role of physical capital in knowledge production using lab disasters, like explosions, fires, and floods, as a natural experiment. The results provide important insights for science and innovation policy. More

The question of whether an Artificial Intelligence system can or should be recognised as an inventor has been debated world-wide. The Institute has issued a position statement in view of the emerging case-law on this issue.


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
In Brief

People + + + Michèle Finck appointed new Carl Zeiss Endowed Chair in Artificial Intelligence Law at the University of Tübingen.

Honor + + + Bronwyn H. Hall was presented with the 2021 Distinguished Scholar Award of the AoM TIM Division at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management.

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

Innovation commons ‒ repositories of freely accessible, “open source” innovation-related information and data ‒ are a very significant resource for innovating firms and individuals. Despite their clear social welfare value, research and policy have so far focused almost entirely on enhancing private incentives to innovate, for example via intellectual property rights. The authors present a study in which they explain the theory of innovation commons, present evidence, and discuss policy implications.

Jason Potts, Andrew W. Torrance, Dietmar Harhoff,  Eric von Hippel (2021)
Social Welfare Gains from Innovation Commons: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications 
Available at SSRN
Image source: AUDI AG / Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Chugunova et al. study comparatively two so-called “shocks” to the US labor market: the intensified trade competition with China and the increased use of industrial robots. While both shocks lead to negative economic consequences such as reduced average household income and employment, their effects on workers’ political participation are markedly different. This can lead to distortions in the feedback loop between the government and citizens. As politicians are unlikely to represent interests of abstaining people, it may fall on other public actors to discuss alternative policies to remedy negative changes triggered by automation.
Marina Chugunova, Arnau Juanmarti, Klaus Keller, Sampsa Samila
Robots, China and Polls: Structural Shocks and Political Participation in the US
Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-22
Patent Law-Related Measures as Effective Protection for Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources?
The protection of cultural heritage – such as the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities (TK) or genetic resources (GR) – against unlawful use by third parties is provided for under international law. How effective this protection is, however, depends on instruments of national or regional law. In two current papers, Institute researchers examine to what extent and under what conditions patent-related measures provide adequate possibilities for effective protection. These measures include patent protection for TK and the prevention of third-party patenting of TK. In addition, GR and TK information must be disclosed in the patent application.
Reto Hilty, Pedro Henrique D. Batista, Suelen Carls
Traditional Knowledge, Databases and Prior Art – Options for an Effective Defensive Use of TK Against Undue Patent Granting
Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-23
Pedro Henrique D. Batista
Cultural Heritage and Patent Law – Alternatives for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources
Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-24
Online Symposium
To Break Up or Regulate Big Tech? Avenues to Constrain Private Power in the DSA/DMA Package
From 30 August to 7 September, an online symposium was held on the Verfassungsblog as a cooperative event with the Institute. In a total of 15 contributions, experts from various legal disciplines addressed the pressing regulatory concerns raised by the concentration of power of the private sector in the digital sphere.

Now, the contributions have also been published as an eBook in the MPI Research Paper Series, edited by Heiko Richter (MPI), Marlene Straub and Erik Tuchtfeld (Verfassungsblog). This open-access collection aims to further advance the scholarly discourse on the regulation of private power. 
Hybrid Teaching Is the New Normal

On 1 October 2021, the 19th cohort started with students from 16 countries and four continents. While Welcome Day was still online, the MIPLC is happily returning to face-to-face teaching at its premises in Munich. However, the new standard is hybrid sessions where students participate both in the MIPLC classroom and remotely. Online-only study is possible from now on, which broadens access to the LL.M. program at the MIPLC.

MIPLC website
Hybrid Teaching Is the New Normal at the MIPLC
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