Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law
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Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law

Vol 1: Theory Vol 2: Analytical Methods

Edited by Ben Depoorter, Peter Menell and David Schwartz

Both law and economics and intellectual property law have expanded dramatically in tandem over recent decades. This field-defining two-volume Handbook, featuring the leading legal, empirical, and law and economics scholars studying intellectual property rights, provides wide-ranging and in-depth analysis both of the economic theory underpinning intellectual property law, and the use of analytical methods to study it.
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Chapter 7: Economic analysis of network effects and intellectual property

Peter S. Menell


The information revolution has brought demand-side effects to the fore of economic activity, business strategy, and intellectual property jurisprudence and policy. Intellectual property doctrines play a central role in harnessing network effects, promoting innovation to overcome excess inertia, and balancing consumer welfare, competition, and innovation. This chapter surveys and integrates the economic, business strategy, and legal literatures relating to network effects and intellectual property. Section I introduces the topic of network effects and provides an overview of this chapter. Section II describes the functioning of network markets. Section III examines the interplay of business strategy, contract, standard setting organizations, intellectual property, and competition policy. Section IV presents three principles for tailoring intellectual property regimes and competition policy for network technologies. Section V traces the evolution of intellectual property protection for network features of systems and platforms. Section VI discusses the interplay of intellectual property protection and competition policy. Section VII assesses the extent to which intellectual property protection and competition policy align with the normative design principles. Section VIII identifies promising areas for future research.

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