From: Hans Lennros
Question regarding Competition & Intellectual Property
Dear Sir, Madam,
This question of how to balance intellectual property and competition policy in a particular case. I know the issue has caused discussion over the decades.
Intellectual property protection may be counterproductive to U.S. consumers and somtimes impede consumer welfare.
Undoubtedly intellectual property law play an important role in fostering innovation. But the law also raises the question of where to define the line between when intellectual property protection laws should be allowed to hamper competition.
The concrete case is this: a dentist in the US has "invented" a dental device that has been proven to work well and there is a great need for this type of product among the general public. Hence, he charges a lot more than its equitable value (pre-work, tests, production and marketing costs considered).
Any company producing plastic products would manufacture the device for about 40 times less than the dentist selling price.
The dentist has an approved patent covering his product and therefore appears similar products, if manufactured, be unlawful.
To what extent could that type of exclusive commercialization of intellectual property keep patients from getting improved care?