Partie ou chapitre de livre
Government by Relational Infrastructures : The Case of the Transnational Institutionalization of the European Unified Patent Court
The Oxford Handbook of Institutions of International Economic Governance and Market Regulation
Oxford : Oxford University Press
Institutional entrepreneurship, collegial oligarchy, multilevel networks, relational infrastructure, transnational court, harmonization, patent law, multilevel status, vertical linchpin, rhetorical skills
This chapter analyzes the transnational institutionalization of the European Unified Patent Court (created in 2013) as a case illustrating government by relationships and mobilization of relational infrastructures in joint regulation of the economy. This court, specializing in patent litigation, originated from a public-private network of corporate lawyers, national judges, and European-level technocrats as institutional (or judicial) entrepreneurs, a collegial oligarchy using their own personal social networks across borders to start negotiating a common interpretation of the European patent and to lobby for the creation of the institution. A neostructural sociological approach is then proposed to frame this example in a more general perspective on institution building. The chapter identifies specific characteristics of institutional entrepreneurs who punch above their weight in regulatory processes. It stresses in particular the importance of being part of a collegial oligarchy and having several high, heterogenous, inconsistent, and multilevel dimensions of social status combined with the right rhetorics of sacrifice for the common good that helps to manage the losers of the process.