Hoover Institution Hosts Conference Examining Patent Development and Usage from Varying Perspectives

Monday, June 28, 2010
Hoover senior fellow and conference co-organizer F. Scott Kieff
Hoover senior fellow and conference co-organizer F. Scott Kieff
Hoover senior fellow and conference co-organizer F. Scott Kieff

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, interactions among patents, innovation, and competition are complex and dynamic.

The debates concern whether and how patents operate: Do they facilitate or frustrate innovation and competition, as well as overall economic growth. At the same time, some question whether the legal systems that implement patents are able to meet the new demands of the current environment.

A workshop-style conference titled “The Economics, Business, and Policy Implications for Innovation and Competition of Diverse Business Models for Using Patents” was held Friday, June 25, at the Hoover Institution to explore the diverse business models that have evolved for using patents, with a focus on understanding why particular market actors find them useful or problematic.

Conference co-organizer F. Scott Kieff, the Ray and Louise Knowles Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at George Washington Law School, explained that the conference was an opportunity to bring together a cross section of leaders from different, but interconnected, fields to address these challenges. The conference included five panel discussions:

“General Thoughts on Boundaries of the Firm”: presentation by Scott Masten, University of Michigan; comments by Anne Layne-Farrar, LECG; moderated by Scott Hemphill, Columbia University Law School

“Patent Implications for Boundaries of the Firm”: presentation by Dan Spulber, Northwestern University; comments by Josh Wright, George Mason University; moderator Stuart Graham, chief economist, United State Patent and Trademark Office.

“Concerns Raised by Changes in Patent Law”: presentation by F. Scott Kieff, George Washington University; comments by Rebecca Eisenberg, University of Michigan; moderated by Rod Cooper, author of Protecting Assets of the Mind.

“Concerns Raised by New Business Models”: presentation by Rob Merges, University of California, Berkeley; comments by Damien Geradin, Tilburg University; moderated by John Mulgrew, Microsoft.

“Patent Valuation and Transaction”: presentation by Leonard Jacoby, Cleary Gottlieb and University of Pennsylvania and Jim Malackowski, Ocean Tomo.

Harold Demsetz, professor emeritus of economics at the University of California-Los Angeles, provided the keynote address for the event.

Stephen H. Haber, the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, who serves as co-investigator and Kieff who serves as the primary investigator direct the Hoover Project on Commercializing Innovation. To learn more about the project see http://www.innovation.hoover.org/default.aspx.