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

See all articles by Michael Kock

Michael Kock

Syngenta International AG

Floris ten Have

Stibbe- Amsterdam

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

Kock, Michael and ten Have, Floris, The 'International Licensing Platform – Vegetables': A Prototype of a Patent Clearing House in the Life Science Industry (May 1, 2016). Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: or

Michael Kock (Contact Author)

Syngenta International AG ( email )

Schwarzwaldallee 215
Basel, 4002

Floris Ten Have

Stibbe- Amsterdam ( email )

Stibbetoren, Strawinskylaan 2001
P.O. Box 75640
Amsterdam, 1070 AP

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