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2017

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Buying Monopoly: Antitrust Limits On Damages For Externally Acquired Patents, Erik N. Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Buying Monopoly: Antitrust Limits On Damages For Externally Acquired Patents, Erik N. Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

The “monopoly” authorized by the Patent Act refers to the exclusionary power of individual patents. That is not the same thing as the acquisition of individual patent rights into portfolios that dominate a market, something that the Patent Act never justifies and that the antitrust laws rightfully prohibit.

Most patent assignments are procompetitive and serve to promote the efficient commercialization of patented inventions. However, patent acquisitions may also be used to combine substitute patents from external patentees, giving the acquirer an unearned monopoly position in the relevant technology market. A producer requires only one of the substitutes, but by acquiring …