Patents and Antitrust: Peaceful Coxeistence?
My thesis for this paper is based upon developments which appear, as of 1955, to bring into clearer focus the process by which the earned differential advantages of patent rights are being adjusted to the prohibitory dixits of antitrust law. This is part of the never-ending governmental function of balancing stability of legal rights against the desired flexibility resulting from evolutionary growth. We can only chart the directions of the current trends. Generalizations from this panorama should not be overdrawn or artificially simplified. Both the patent and antitrust spectra are arranged in degrees. The edges of certainty are blurred in areas where the law continues to adjust itself to technological economic growth. Despite these caveats, however, I do not mean to underrate the increased clarification of the appointed provinces of patent and antitrust policies. This clarification is emerging from what has occurred since the 1930’s when patent laws and the Patent System began to be subjected to accusations of organic deficiencies in their underlying theory and operations-criticisms that went beyond instances of misuse of patent rights.
Let us begin this synthesis with some generalizations and searching questions. At the same time let us bear in mind that the patent-antitrust picture is seen through contracted vision because opinion necessarily· mixes with demonstrable facts in the value judgments any observer may make.