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Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Department Intellectual Property and Competition Law

Professor Dr Josef Drexl LLM (Berkeley)
Professor Dr Reto M. Hilty

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.

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 Axes

Within the Department of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, definition of the research topics begins with a spatial matrix comprised of three research axes. These research axes each contain numerous research priorities that can be redefined over time.

Principles and Functions of Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law 

  • Innovation

  • Incentive mechanisms

  • Change of function

  • Fairness as a legal principle

  • Methodological questions

Configuration of Intellectual Property and Competition Law →

  • Technology-driven markets

  • Content-driven markets

  • Data-driven economy

  • Commercial communication

  • Enforcement and dispute resolution

Intellectual Property and Competition Law in Different Economic Areas 

  • Realization and perspectives of the European internal market

  • Legal development in non-European jurisdictions

  • International law

  • The interaction of jurisdictions

Joining the Institute

The Directors as well as some researchers of the Institute also teach as Professors and Honorary Professors at universities, including in particular the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. It is in that capacity that they also supervise their own PhD students at these universities. The Institute also accepts external PhD students as scholarship holders and guest researchers.

Further information can be found on the website of the Institute under Research Stays.