- European Union — Copyright — Rights — Royalties — United States
This chapter explores contemporary issues in the patent system. It begins by explaining how patents have evolved to play distinct roles in various industries, and how that phenomenon may implicate competition law. Long a bulwark of life-sciences innovation, patents also play important roles in other technology industries. Nevertheless, although patents may be critical to biopharmaceutical R&D, feature prominently in firm strategy in high-tech industries, and play a material role in allowing startups to attract venture capital, they appear generally to be ancillary to larger incentives to invent such as competition, first-mover advantage, and trade secrecy. The remainder of the chapter discusses US and EU patent law, the economic function that patents serve, the critical importance of strong intellectual property rights (IPRs) over certain innovations and in particular industries, and the damage that a partially malfunctioning US system has wrought on the high-technology sector.