Mauritz Kop, ‘Quantum Computing and Intellectual Property Law’

What types of intellectual property (IP) rights can be vested in the components of a scalable quantum computer? Are there sufficient market-set innovation incentives for the development and dissemination of quantum software and hardware structures? Or is there a need for open source ecosystems, enrichment of the public domain and even democratization of quantum technology? The article explores possible answers to these tantalizing questions.

The article demonstrates that strategically using a mixture of IP rights to maximize the value of the IP portfolio of the quantum computer’s owner, potentially leads to IP protection in perpetuity. Overlapping IP protection regimes can result in unlimited duration of global exclusive exploitation rights for first movers, being a handful of universities and large corporations. The ensuing IP overprotection in the field of quantum computing leads to an unwanted concentration of market power. Overprotection of information causes market barriers and hinders both healthy competition and industry-specific innovation. In this particular case it slows down progress in an important application area of quantum technology, namely quantum computing.

In general, our current IP framework is not written with quantum technology in mind. IP should be an exception – limited in time and scope – to the rule that information goods can be used for the common good without restraint. IP law cannot incentivize creation, prevent market failure, fix winner-takes-all effects, eliminate free riding and prohibit predatory market behavior at the same time. To encourage fair competition and correct market skewness, antitrust law is the instrument of choice …

Kop, Mauritz, Quantum Computing and Intellectual Property Law (April 8, 2021). Berkeley Technology Law Journal, volume 35, no 3, 2021, forthcoming.

First posted 2021-06-09 16:15:34

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