Patents and injuctions in high technology industries. A comparative perspective
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The strategic importance of standardization activities in today's changing society cannot be denied. They play a key role, "inter alia", in the information and communication technology (Ict) industries, where they provide the lifeblood for the development of networks. Many authors have already clarified that standards are essential ingredients in driving market growth and boosting the welfare of the whole society. At the same time, however, the processes leading to the implementation of standards may raise several legal concerns, at the intersection between Ip, contract and competition laws. On the one hand, patent owners need to be rewarded for their investments in innovation, in order to preserve their incentives to promote technological advance; on the other, it is essential to ensure that standardization environments maintain a desirable level of healthy competition. In this context, the award of injunctions to innovators, whose standard essential patents (Seps) have been allegedly infringed, may have a cascading impact on the outcome of standardization and ultimately on innovation-driven welfare. It seems thus fundamental to consider carefully the scope and the effects of this remedy, so as to strike the right balance between the objectives of all the stakeholders involved and remove any roadblocks to the blossoming of new groundbreaking standards.