August 16, 2011

Patent Baristas » Intellectual Property & Antitrust Issues: Market Power

So how does one bridge the gap between antitrust laws and patent laws? Is one to understand that patent laws are inherently monopolistic in nature? In which case, the Congressional intent in enacting the Sherman, Clayton and FTC Acts is questionable. Is it that patent laws are divest from the purview of antitrust laws or can they be viewed as two sides of the same coin- aiding and abetting one another in enhancing consumer welfare and promoting innovation? “[T]he aims and objectives of patent and antitrust laws may seem, at first glance, wholly at odds. However, the two bodies of law are actually complementary, as both are aimed at encouraging innovation, industry and competition.” Atari Games Corp. v. Nintendo of America, Inc., 897 F.2d 1572, 1576. One may seek recourse to case laws, old and new, in addition to the various FTC reports in order to make sense of this conundrum.

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