New brief on 4iP Council's “Stealth Licensing” report
12 June 2015
4IP Council releases brief based on the paper “Stealth Licensing” - or antitrust law and trade regulation squeezing patent rights, by Nicolas Petit
The underlying purpose of the patent system, to incentivise innovation by ensuring that inventors have the ability to seek fair return on R&D investment, is at risk. Patent owners are under increasing pressure to give away their property rights on their most successful inventions. The threat comes from subtle interventions by policy makers, judicial organs and regulatory agencies, despite the fact that stimulating investment in research & developments remains critical for economic growth. While falling short of outright expropriation, ‘stealth licensing’ eases the thresholds to take such drastic measures. Typical approaches include re-defining what the patent system is intended to achieve, watering down exceptions to patent rights beyond what was originally envisioned in the TRIPS and/or adding new avenues to dilute patent rights. Instead of increasing access to technology, such ‘stealth licensing’ actually impairs the ability of innovators and investors to create new solutions and disseminate them and adversely impacts the social welfare functions of the patent system.