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lunes, 3 de septiembre de 2012

Schumpeter/Arrow y la relación entre Derecho de Patentes y Antitrust

Los lectores de este blog ya saben que Lemley es uno de nuestros favoritos en temas de patentes y Derecho de la Competencia. Les resumo un artículo en el que – en contra de lo que hoy dice EL PAIS – se demuestra que tiene todo el sentido distinguir por sectores de actividad en el ámbito de las patentes como se hace en el Derecho de la Competencia. En este párrafo, el autor explica por qué las patentes funcionan bien en el sector farmacéutico y cómo la prospect theory de Schumpeter da cuenta del régimen jurídico de las patentes
Schumpeterian prospect theory is based on the premise that strong IP rights should be given to a single coordinating entrepreneur. Prospect theory envisions invention as something done by a single firm, rather than collectively; as the result of significant expenditure on research, rather than the result of serendipity or casual experimentation; and as only the first step in a long and expensive process of bringing a product to market, rather than as an activity close to a final product. Prospect theory follows Joseph Schumpeter in distinguishing between the act of invention, which creates a new product or process, and the broader act of innovation, which includes the work necessary to revise, develop, and bring that new product or process to commercial fruition.
As a result, prospect theory suggests that patents should be broad, stand alone, and confer almost total control over subsequent uses of the product.The prospect vision of patents maps most closely onto invention in the pharmaceutical industry.James Bessen and Michael Meurer go so far as to argue that the evidence suggests that patents are worth the cost only in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries Patents also map well onto products in the pharmaceutical industry. As a general rule, the scope of patents in the pharmaceutical industry tends to be coextensive with the products actually sold. Pharmaceutical patents do not merely cover small components that must be integrated into a marketable product, and this in turn means that a company that wishes to sell a pharmaceutical product generally won’t need licenses for many different patents. Chemicals are readily characterized using existing scientific terminology, so people can generally tell what a pharmaceutical patent covers, unlike patents in the information technology industries. Drugs generally have stable effects, meaning that significant improvement in a pharmaceutical product is likely to take the form of finding a new drug rather than somehow building on an existing one.Chemicals are readily characterized using existing scientific terminol gy, so people can generally tell what a pharmaceutical patent covers, unlike patents in the information technology industries. Drugs generally have stable effects, meaning that significant improvement in a pharmaceutical product is likely to take the form of finding a new drug rather than somehow building on an existing one.
Y, a continuación, cómo y por qué no funcionan igual de bien en otros sectores de alta innovación, donde la concesión o no de patentes no ha influido en el volumen y velocidad de la innovación
Competitive innovation theory maps well onto a variety of industries that have experienced substantial innovation in the absence of patent protection. One notable example is business methods. Because new business methods do not generally require substantial investment in R&D, the prospect of even a modest supracompetitive reward will provide sufficient incentive to innovate.
Similarly, innovation has flourished in other industries in the absence of patent protection. The early history of the software industry is one in which innovators developed impressive new products at very little cost in the absence of patent protection.24 Patent protection was not available for software until well into the 1980s. Copyright protection may have been available, though the applicability of copyright was not really settled until Congress amended the statute in 1980. Some have argued that software should not be patentable even today, though that argument ignores some economic changes in the industry and in any event seems unlikely to prevail. More recently, the Internet developed without patent protection for its fundamental protocols, in part because it was based on government-funded work and in part because the academic developers simply did not seek patent protection. A number of scholars have argued that the open, nonproprietary nature of the Internet is directly responsible for the dramatic innovation it fostered in the 1990s. They point out that AT&T, which had a monopoly in telephony and therefore under prospect theory the right incentives to innovate in the field, did not engage in similar innovation.
La conclusión
Patent protection is not always appropriate, particularly where expected R&D cost is small, where the ratio of innovator cost to imitator costs is small, or where first-mover advantages or network effects can provide the needed incentives. Under these conditions, patents should be rare and very modest in scope, in order to allow market forces their fullest latitude. Competitive innovation theory fits business methods, arguably fits the Internet, and--at least in the 1970s--fit software.
We should have strong patent rights in circumstances in which we believe Schumpeter is right and innovation requires investment or reward that cannot be achieved in a competitive market. But we should have strong antitrust policy in circumstances in which we believe Arrow is right and it is competition rather than monopoly that will drive innovation.
Industry-Specific Antitrust Policy for Innovation Mark A. Lemley

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