Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary was prepared by DG COMP and the OECD for non-competition specialists. Each term is enriched with references of national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin. (© European Union - © OECD)

Patents

Patents give inventors property rights to the exclusive use of their invention for a specified period of time. The profits stemming from a patent are socially useful because they encourage inventive activity. In the absence of patents, competitive industries may produce too few inventions. Investments in inventive activity are sunk costs, and without the protection of patents to allow inventors to recoup those investments, inventive activity would probably decline.

See also Intellectual Property Rights and Licensing.

© OECD

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