ESAB statement on Patent aggregation and its impact on competition and innovation policy

14 April 2015

The EPO's Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) has issued a statement on patent aggregation and its impact on competition and innovation policy. The ESAB members agreed on the following:

  • Patent aggregators might help to establish a functioning market for patents, which is liquid, transparent and efficient. However, aggregation might result in anticompetitive behaviour which could impede innovation and reduce welfare.
  • Nevertheless, to avoid undermining the beneficial effects of patent aggregation on innovation, no particular form of patent aggregation should be considered as per se anti-competitive. Potential misconduct of individual aggregators should rather be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, based on the facts and circumstances of each single case.
  • Competition policy and competition authorities already have legislation in force and instruments at hand to deal with anticompetitive behaviour. Nevertheless, it is advisable that competition agencies improve patent-system related knowledge and the assessment of the technological issues involved.

In preparing its statement, ESAB took into account the report of a workshop held in Munich on 25 November 2014.

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