Gowers Review of Intellectual Property

At the Enterprise Conference on 2 December 2005, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that, as part of the Pre-Budget Report 2005 package, he was asking Andrew Gowers to lead an Independent Review to examine the UK's intellectual property framework.

The Open Rights Group has been formally invited to participate. We are currently drafting our submission and wish to include your thoughts and opinions. We have reproduced the Call for Evidence below and invite you to contribute - just hit 'respond' next to the paragraph you wish to comment on.

Many of the questions asked by Andrew Gowers in this review are very focused, but you should feel free to comment on the issues and the wider implications rather than feel obliged to provide specific answers. If you want to talk about issues not raised by this call for evidence, please do - just leave your comments on the Introduction.

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  • Increasingly firms appear to be innovating collaboratively, and using cross- licensing agreements and “patent pools” to share their IP with other firms and reduce the need for costly and time consuming negotiations. However, while this may enable innovation among the firms involved, it may also increase barriers to market entry for others.

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One response

  1. David Mytton Says:

    When firms collaborate it means that they can share resources and expertise in order to reduce the costs (instead of both acquiring the same skills for example) and in theory improving and speeding up innovative developments. Because of the cost of a patent (previous point) this is often necessary, particularly with small firms. However it is a form of monopoly with two or more firms dominating the market under one patent, and therefore preventing any other entrants into the market. It could be called a cartel. But what is the point of a patent – to allow enforcement of a monopoly. Do you stop collaboration and prevent sharing of resources in order to maintain a “fair market”? Should the firms be allowed to do this because they’re the first on the scene and have taken the opportunity to make the most of the idea?