The Common Purposes of Intellectual Property and Antitrust: Promoting Creative and Innovative Output

Posted by Social Science Research Network

The Common Purposes of Intellectual Property and Antitrust: Promoting Creative and Innovative Output

By Randolph J. May & Seth L. Cooper (The Free State Foundation)

Abstract:      Intellectual property is a potent and increasingly vital driver of value in America’s Digital Age economy. Indeed, along with the Internet, intellectual property is one of the pillars upon which the Digital Age economy rests.

According to the US Commerce Department’s comprehensive report, “Intellectual Property and the US Economy: 2016 Update,” industries heavily focused on IP “accounted for $6.6 trillion in value added in 2014,” up more 30% from 2000. Nearly 35% of the US GDP was attributable to IP-intensive industries in 2014. In addition, revenues from licensing IP rights totaled $115.2 billion in 2012, with 28 different industries deriving revenues from IP licensing. These totals are surely higher in 2017, and they will climb higher still in years to come.

Unfortunately, these substantial public benefits of output-enhancing intellectual property protections and their connection to private rights are frequently overlooked. With the widely acknowledged and quantifiable benefits in mind, along with the broader public purposes served by protection of individual rights in IP, it is instructive to take a closer look at the relationship between antitrust law and IP protection. Some mistakenly suggest they are in conflict. The purpo…

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