Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Executive Summary of the Study on the Interaction between Standardisation and Intellectual Property Rights

Funded under: FP5-GROWTH


The primary objective of the conducted study was to achieve a good understanding of the relationship between standardisation and intellectual property rights (IPR). Based on these insights, recommendations can be derived in order to improve their interface.
The generation of new knowledge, inventions, their transformation into innovation and their widest possible diffusion, together with the attempt to prohibit parallel development, are considered to be essential factors for economic growth. Knowledge as such, however, is intangible and has the feature of a public good. Nonexcludability of others from the use of produced knowledge makes it difficult for a knowledge-producer to recoup her/his expenditure on research and development (R&D). Intellectual property rights, covering patents, trademarks and copyrights, and standardisation are both tools for knowledge creation and diffusion.
The ways their influence work, however, are quite ambivalent. This ambivalence of industrial property rights and de facto industry standards or de jure standards for technological development is triggered off by two different economic mechanisms. Intellectual property rights (IPR) provide knowledge-producers with the temporary right of the exclusive exploitation of the benefits deriving from the new knowledge. In this way, IPR supply knowledge-producers with the publicly desirable incentive to invest in R&D. IPR, however, are only a second best solution. Firstly, they provide holders with a temporary monopolistic position, possibly causing negative effects on competition in the long run. Secondly, IPR influence the diffusion of knowledge. Some IPR, like patents, include a positive element of diffusion by publication of the right. In general, however, the restraint on the free flow of ideas and knowledge by IPR dominates. Potential users can either not gain access to required knowledge or have to pay for it via licensing.

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