Antitrust-Patents-Licenses-Regulation of Patent License Royalty Rates Under the Antitrust Laws
Neither the Constitution nor federal legislation defines a patentee’s licensing rights; consequently, it has devolved upon the courts to control patent marketing practices. A patentee is entitled to a limited monopoly on his invention, and proper use of this grant is not a violation of any law regulating trade practices. Yet licensing affords an opportunity to enlarge the scope of this monopoly, and courts using various rationales have declared illegal different forms of patent licensing arrangements found to be outside the protective coverage of the patent grant. Until recently, however, the courts have not dealt with the problem of whether unusually ,em>high royalty rates or discriminatory rates may constitute unlawful extensions of the patent monopoly.