Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

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Dr Alexander Suyer
Research Coordinator

Marstallplatz 1
80539 Munich

The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition is committed to fundamental legal and economic research on processes of innovation and competition and their regulation. The research focuses on the incentives, determinants and implications of innovation. With an outstanding international team of scholars and excellent scientific and administrative infrastructure including our renowned library, the Institute hosts academics from all over the world and actively promotes young researchers. The Institute informs and guides legal and economic discourse on an impartial basis. As an independent research institution, it provides evidence-based research results to academia, policymakers, the private sector as well as the general public.

Since its founding 1966, the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition has been committed to the development of intellectual property law and competition law on the basis of sound scientific principles. With the establishment in 2013 of the economics department “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research” under the direction of Professor Dietmar Harhoff, PhD, the Institute took account of the fact that legal aspects are not the only factors determining the regulation of these processes. Rather, economic considerations represent an important, complementary set of instruments to measure the effects of legal norms. Conversely, economists also increasingly use insights from the field of law to make more realistic models of the processes and institutions they study and to examine them empirically. Using such complementary approaches in research allows for a better assessment of particularly those new phenomena that generate ever more interest in the worlds of business, politics and civil society.

The expanded methodological spectrum enables the Institute to adapt to the new status quo in science, technology, business, politics and society. This is all the more important as the call for science to provide evidence-based political consulting has grown louder in recent years: Data-based analyses are called upon to clarify causal relationships and display correlations that are generated by a variety of effects. Precisely with respect to possible adjustments of legal foundations, the economic sciences department of the Institute can provide considerable research support with such analyses.

Research Axes

Intellectual property law and competition law have the complementary goal to create incentives for investment in research and development. In the continuous evaluation of the available mechanisms, economic parameters play an important role, as do fundamental rights and ethical considerations. The emergence of dysfunctional effects can be prevented primarily through a functioning balance of interests.

Main Areas of Research

  • Innovation
  • Incentive mechanisms
  • Change of function
  • Fairness as a legal principle
  • Methodological questions


Intellectual property and competition law serve as tools of market regulation. Their function consists in guaranteeing, in accordance with the principle of a free market economy, the distribution of the market revenues following the principle of economic performance. For this, both legal areas are in dialog with each other as well as with a number of other regulatory systems applicable to the market economy. The research axis ‘Configuration of Intellectual Property and Competition Law’ is dedicated to the challenge of analysing the operating principles of markets in order to identify the necessity of a regulatory intervention and, if necessary, to define its terms.

  • Technology-driven markets
  • Content-driven markets
  • Data-driven economy
  • Commercial communication
  • Enforcement and dispute resolution


The territoriality principle in the fields of intellectual property law and to a certain extent in competition law, is meant to ensure that the sovereign decisions of the legislature in regard to the granting and scope of rights are respected. Due to internationalization of communication and trade, the traditional approach towards territoriality has been increasingly modified, bringing forth new facets of the underlying principle. This concerns, firstly, the tendency towards harmonization or unification of the law within regions that are geographically or economically connected, but also on the international level. Secondly, it involves the dialogue and—where necessary—the resolution of tension between different economic areas and the respective jurisdictions. In order to resolve concrete disputes, the traditional mechanisms of private international law, as well as the development of new dispute resolution strategies are instrumental.

  • Realization and perspectives of the European internal market
  • Legal development in non-European jurisdictions
  • International law
  • The interaction of jurisdictions


A further central task of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition is the promotion of young scientists beyond their university degree. The unique infrastructure and support programmes attract over 100 young scholars each year from all over the world, most in their doctoral phase, to the Institute to prepare for an academic career. The Institute also hosts a great many guest scholars, who use the library, the best worldwide in its fields, in pursuit of their studies and research projects.

An important and above all practical function is fulfilled by the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC). Here the Institute offers an English-language LLM programmes with an emphasis in IP law within an international network of partner universities and featuring a teaching staff of world-renowned professors.

Research Highlights