On Patent 'Monopolies': An Economic Re-Appraisal

Antitrust Chronicle, Spring 2017

5 Pages Posted: 3 May 2017

See all articles by David Teece

David Teece

Institute for Business Innovation

Edward Sherry


Date Written: April 1, 2017


In exchange for public disclosure, the patent system gives a successful patent applicant the right to exclude others from using the patented technology without permission for a period of time (in the U.S., currently 20 years from application). A series of older cases refer to this exclusivity as a “patent monopoly.” The questions we address in the current article are: to what extent is the “patent monopoly” language useful? To what extent is it misleading? What are its virtues and limitations?

Keywords: patent, intellectual property rights, antitrust

JEL Classification: K21, O34

Suggested Citation

Teece, David J. and Sherry, Edward, On Patent 'Monopolies': An Economic Re-Appraisal (April 1, 2017). Antitrust Chronicle, Spring 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2962208

David J. Teece (Contact Author)

Institute for Business Innovation ( email )

F402 Haas School of Business, #1930
Berkeley, CA 94720-1930
United States
(510) 642-4041 (Phone)

Edward Sherry

Independent ( email )

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