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New research theme on Law of Innovation

Posted on    by CREATe Team

New research theme on Law of Innovation

By 28 February 2024No Comments

In an era marked by unprecedented technological advancement and transformative business landscapes, innovation has been elevated to the forefront of government policy. In its trajectory spanning over a decade, CREATe has grappled with many aspects of innovation: from the early days of digital innovation in scholarship, the launch of the Copyright and Innovation Network (CIN), to the most recent project Platform Regulation II (competition, contestability and innovation).

Microchip – Original illustration by vanesaurus


As part of the CREATe relaunch, the Law of Innovation theme introduces a new chapter, with members of the team setting out to explore the conceptual and practical underpinnings of innovation in the different fields of intellectual property – in particular, patents, trade marks, and copyright – and competition law. In this phase, we are interested in the study of innovation in at least two ways.

The first is the quintessential, multifaceted question of incentives. In the increasingly complex reality in which we find ourselves, we consider whether some of the assumptions and normative commitments which shaped existing legal frameworks should be revisited.

For instance, the rapid development and increasing adoption of artificial intelligence in the field of drug discovery poses significant questions for patent law. Is it possible to strike a balance between providing incentives for pharmaceutical innovation and ensuring ‘free zones’ for exchange of knowledge in the practical implementation of (some) ideas? To what extent can emerging AI technology (incl. research tools) potentially widening access to data and reducing R&D costs, disrupt such a balance?

Law of Innovation is also concerned with the question of regulation or, broadly speaking, to what extent the investigated fields of law set standards of behaviour (even if not by design) which may encourage or stifle innovation.

In competition law, for instance, stakeholders (esp. authorities and regulators) are generally concerned with imbalances in consumption and production. Beyond consumption narrowly defined, competition analysis also considers the potential impact of economic power and concentration on innovation. Nonetheless, this notion may seem unduly narrow, failing to grasp other significant dimensions of innovation such as the creative process. Does (or should) the foundational notion of innovation in competition law reflect actual practice and concerns in creative industries? How, if at all, should we conceive of a conceptual, overarching framework for innovation comporting with the realities of different industries?

We are also interested in the role of IP adjudication and judicial (re)interpretation of legal concepts effectively regulating or shaping market practices, and potential effects on cumulative innovation and competition in specific sectors. Areas of interest include product design, marketing and advertising (incl. brand innovation), emerging business models, and video game mechanics, which are situated at the intersection of the different fields of intellectual property and competition law.

The theme brings together members of CREATe who share a collective interest and complementary expertise in the interface of law and innovation: Luis H Porangaba (Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law); Magali Eben (Senior Lecturer in Competition Law); Amy Thomas (Lecturer in Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law); Stavros Makris (Lecturer in Competition Law); Gabriele Cifrodelli (CREATe PGR in Intellectual Property Law and Artificial Intelligence).

Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with this research theme or contact the leads, Luis H Porangaba or Magali Eben, if you have any questions or would like to get involved. Any of the theme members will also be happy to hear from scholars, policy makers, or stakeholders who are interested in the research.