The 'International Licensing Platform – Vegetables': A Prototype of a Patent Clearing House in the Life Science Industry
Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice, Forthcoming
25 Pages Posted: 3 May 2016
Date Written: May 1, 2016
In November 2014, the vegetable seed industry saw the introduction of the International Licensing Platform Vegetable ("ILP"). The ILP's main objective is to enable worldwide access to biological material covered by patents for the purpose of vegetable breeding, whilst safeguarding incentives to invest in patentable inventions. As a result the ILP will boost innovation and competition in the industry.
This contribution explains the reasons for founding the ILP and introduces its structure and inner workings, including the employment of "baseball arbitration" as a pragmatic mechanism for determining royalties in case bilateral negotiations fail. In addition, it explores some of the antitrust related challenges associated with assessing initiatives like the ILP and discusses open questions, limitations and success factors.
Given its innovative set-up and structure, the ILP may potentially serve as a prototype for multiparty licensing structures in other industries where intellectual property rights are prevalent and access through conventional licensing negotiation is not satisfactory. However, where it concerns Europe, the suboptimal antitrust guidance currently in place runs the risk of chilling the willingness of private actors to introduce welfare enhancing collaborative licensing initiatives. Accordingly, the (procedural) antitrust landscape in the relevant area arguably warrants reconsideration.
Keywords: Competition Law, Antitrust-Intellectual Property Law, Antitrust-Intellectual Property Interface, Plant Breeders Rights-Patents Interface, Technology Transfer, International Licensing Platform Vegetable Seed, Baseball Arbitration
JEL Classification: K21, O34, J52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation